Thursday, April 23, 2015

Reader report: 421 E. 6th St. will house Peter M. Brant's personal art collection

On Tuesday night, reps for Peter M. Brant and his architect appeared again before CB3's Landmarks Committee to discuss a Certificate of Appropriateness application for 421 E. Sixth St., the building that the art collector-publisher-paper magnate bought last year for $27 million.

Among other modifications/additions, Brant's reps are calling for a rooftop terrace and a garden to the west of the building here between Avenue A and First Avenue. (Read more about the plans here.)

An EVG reader attended Tuesday's meeting, and shared this:

The building is intended to be a gallery space to display [Peter Brant's] personal art collection. The intention is to have approximately two shows per year, with the first show scheduled for Fall 2016. There would be an opening night event for each show. This is not intended to be a party space or a commercial space. Entrance to the gallery space will be by appointment only so there will not be people going in and out each day. On a daily basis, there should only be two people using the building, if even that. The maximum capacity of the building is 200 people.

The new garden in the empty lot next door is intended to be a sculpture garden to display the sculptures in the owner's collection. It also will be the main entrance because the current entrance on Sixth Street is not handicap accessible.

Demolition work is scheduled to begin in August and will last approximately two months. All work will be done during the day. There will be a telephone number that people can call if they have complaints about the construction.

The reps also said that they'd come speak to any concerned residents who live in Village View across the street to make sure everyone was comfortable with the plans.

And what about the 11 days of activities with the generators on East Seventh Street that culminated with an elegant dinner party for the world's top collectors of Dom Pérignon rosé? (The event, on the evening of March 26 — hours after the deadly Second Avenue explosion — featured a marching band playing outside at 1 a.m.)

The owner's rep also apologized for the party with the generators. She said that the owner lent the space to a friend as a favor and that the owner didn't realize it was going to be like that.

Previously on EV Grieve:
About that "giant-robot laboratory" on East Sixth Street

RIP Walter De Maria

What is your East Village dream home?

Walter De Maria's 'giant-robot laboratory' going for $25 million; inside is amazing as you'd expect

Walter De Maria's home/studio on East 6th Street is now on the market for $25 million

Rumor: The Brant Foundation buying Walter De Maria's E. 6th St. studio for an exhibition space (19 comments)

Confirmed: Peter M. Brant buys Walter De Maria's amazing East 6th Street home and studio

1st permits filed for renovation of Walter De Maria's former home-studio on East 6th Street

A soft opening at the Brant Foundation's new space at Walter De Maria's former East 6th Street studio

More about the 1st show at Walter De Maria's former home-studio on East 6th Street

Here's what Peter Brant wants to do with his new exhibition space on East 6th Street

When the world's top collectors of Dom Pérignon rosé came to the East Village for dinner


Anonymous said...

I had thought that the building was going to be a public space, more or less a regular art gallery. But it's clear that we hoi polloi are off limits, and the space will be solely for his friends and cronies.

Gojira said...

"Two shows a year" suggests to me that it will be open to the public. Plus there will be a 24/7 sculpture garden available for viewing from the street. Beats a nightclub.

Anonymous said...

A giant walk-in closet for a rich man's art collection. "Oh, let me show you my collection..." This is somewhat disappointing although as a private individual he has the right to do with this building as he see fit. The fears of some that this would be a tourist magnet or blocked lined with limo's can be put to rest. Still I think to go through all this expense and effort I would want to share the art work with the public. May by appointment could mean reserving time online with a limit per day on visitors. All of this may change sooner or later, by until then : (

Anonymous said...

@10:24 This affects you how?

Anonymous said...

After the Dom Perignon event, I'll never believe anything coming from the Brant camp. I have no problem with the rich, but I do with the douchey.

Anonymous said...

Some of you people should seek therapy. It's disturbing to know people living in the neighborhood are so angry and easily triggered by the tiniest things. I hope I never meet any of you.

Anonymous said...

I love the excuse, oh, I lent my $27 million building to a friend so he could have an event and didn't know about the generators and all that.

Anonymous said...

-11:25 The angry maniacs took over the comment sections here a long time ago. I used to look forward to some of the regular commenters but its now mostly angry anons foaming at the mouth over nothing. I always regret reading the comments.

Anonymous said...

@10:49 Nobody is losing sleep over what you do or don't believe.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that he is likely eligible for a tax benefit - that is, the building is "open to the public" albeit in a limited way, and so it can qualify as a "museum." He is "donating" to the public.

This seems to be a new thing among very wealthy Americans - a mechanism to avoid taxes on personal art holdings.

Anonymous said...

11:25AM & 12:26PM - Nothing in angrier then a sentence that begins with "some of you people". Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Twice a year-good. Won't see hear or know anybody but for twice a year-better off this way. The New Museum Ideas Festival brought in 50,000 people last go around-it extended from the east river to Bowery and beyond. It doesn't matter who participates it's a killer by sheer amount of people that will flooding the area and they keep trying to push the event further north with the help of their cronies.

Anonymous said...

See NY Times article 1/10/15 by Patricia Cohen that discusses Brant's Connecticut art collection and his tax-exemption.

Trixie said...

If I want to see what's going on in there I'll make an appointment.

Anonymous said...

With all do respect, I am suspect of this report. There are many galleries/foundations all over the world which show private collections. Some of them are by appointment. But none of them allow only 2 people per day. Whenever visits are by appointment, it is because the space and neighborhood cannot handle the masses that would show up from off the street for blockbuster events. Think suburban Connecticut and Phillip Johnson's glass house. I don't think this would be an issue here.

I think this person who took notes at the meeting did not get what is being proposed for this place.

By the way, I am an artist, who has lived 2 blocks from this space for over 30 years. I have always thought it is an amazing space for showing art. I support this proposal, and I will make sure all my students visit

The way

Anonymous said...

Dear 8:13

With all due respect, I do not think YOU get what it being proposed for this space.

From the post —"On a daily basis, there should only be two people using the building, if even that. The maximum capacity of the building is 200 people. "

The reps said only 2 people would likely be on site when there is not an open exhibition — most likely a caretaker and security. Otherwise, as the post states, the space will accommodate up to 200 people for a viewing.

Perhaps you might want to re-read the post before condemning the person who took notes.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I like the defense comments, but want to let the readers unhappy with the negative grousing know this is a blog. And the title should give you a hint of it's tone. Mr. Brandt is fine, a self made success story. I was hoping that the space would be open more, perhaps giving the community a venue to see new art. Or even for local schools to visit , such as the Neighborhood school a few blocks away.
And ,really? the regular, hard working folks can't even complain with out censoring? How Orwellian.

Anonymous said...

No good deed goes unpunished, hence they should be wisely avoided.

Anonymous said...

Based on reports that I have lately read, Brant is doing what lots of gazillionaires are doing: getting a tax benefit for himself, while housing his collection in a very private manner. Just one more perk of being a gazillionaire!

blue glass said...

it is not necessarily the number of people that "are allowed" - it's the total lack of consideration for the residents of this neighborhood that people are reacting to.
there could be 500 bars on a block if the patrons would just shut the fuck up and not vomit all over the place.
the throngs of groups of wandering loud drunks - all hours of the night and way past the supposed curfew of 4am - that is so disturbing.
signs saying respect our neighbors.... are a joke! and who reads them anyhow?

Giovanni said...

These people are straight out of an Ayn Rand wet dream; they epitomize the clueless selfishness of the ultra-rich. Peter Brant's "apology" to the neighborhood is laughable, issued by a "rep" and then deflecting blame onto a "friend" he had loaned his new toy to? They were throwing a party with a marching band on 6th St at the same time that ash was raining from the sky from the gas explosion on 7th St. How about inviting some of the people who lost their homes over for a drink, or selling a Warhol to raise money for the victims?

Expect more of the same out of touch attitude when these 1 Percenters move the art collection in since they tend to worship at the alter of self-interest. In every social study of this species they have been shown to have less empathy, less altruism and less compassion than other people, and in my experience are generally the worst tippers too. They value tax-cuts and tax write-offs over the public good.

Which would explain why Mr. Brant served time in prison for tax problems in 1990. According to the NY Times: " He had billed more than $1.5 million in personal expenses — including silk sheets, scalp treatments and massages — to two of his companies. Ultimately, he spent more than 80 days in a federal penitentiary in western Pennsylvania."

And this: "He spends $30,000 a month on household supplies, which, he told the court, could be anything from “toothpaste to towels.” There’s an additional $12,500 a month for miscellaneous personal expenses, and $15,199 a month for personal entertainment expenses." But not a dime for the victims of the fire.

Mostly they collect things because possessions make them feel important and make them richer. Part of Peter Brant's collection includes Victoria Secret supermodel and Axl Rose's ex-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour. They collect art to give themselves more status, and then turn that art into a currency to enhance their own wealth. The rich would not collect art if it were not worth so much money, only people who love art would.

Perhaps their greatest contribution to mankind is that the Brants have an entire satirical blog devoted to parodying their over the top lifestyle: If nothing else we should get a good laugh out this, at least until the art market collapses.

Brant says he now makes more money from his art collection than from his bankrupt newsprint business, which he kept investing in heavily even as the newspaper business collapsed. This Walter de Maria space is not so much about art as it is about making sure he can still afford to collect racehorses and polo ponies and truckloads of toothpaste, towels, and silk sheets.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brant says he let a friend use the premises - and he wants us to believe that there was no COI (Cert. of Insurance) for injuries or damages? That COI would have clearly stated what was being done and how many days people would have access to the premises. Yet he still says he did not know?

Also - when his rep proposed a community meeting (on April 16) the only time they could make available was in the middle of the work day - when a request was made that the meeting occur in the evening - when people would not need to take vacation time - the answer was that this was the only time the specialists were available.

This is just the start folks.

Anonymous said...

Boohoo 1%er blah blah. Seriously folks, stop whining. If you want to donate money to fire victims, do it. Stop spending other people's money. I'm sure Mr. Brant has given handsomely to many charities. You want this place to be open to the public, you buy it.

Giovanni said...

@9:12AM Your best comeback is if people don't like it they should just pull $27 million out of the air and buy the building? That is such a classic 1% percenter response. Ayn Rand called, she wants her straitjacket back.

As for Brant's charitable donations, his number one charity is himself through massive tax breaks he gets with these private museums. The NY Times "Art Collectors Gain Tax Benefits From Private Museums" just exposed this trick. So did ArtNet News. You've got to love the title:

Is the Brant Foundation a Tax Scam or an Art Investment Vehicle?

...."among the charitable activities that specifically involved the Greenwich center and were highlighted on his foundation's 2012 tax return (the most recent publicly available) were visits by Larry Gagosian, Mr. Brant's superpowered art dealer, and his fellow billionaire collectors, Victoria and Samuel I. Newhouse Jr."

However, as Cohen points out: "Mr. Brant's five-year old museum, cloistered as it is, nonetheless is the beneficiary of what is in effect a federal subsidy. Operated by a nonprofit charitable foundation created and controlled by Mr. Brant, this cozy museum is tax-exempt." The main difference in the tax breaks being negotiated by power patrons nowadays is that they can often deduct the "full market value of any art, cash and stocks they donate, even when the museums are just a quick stroll from their living rooms."