Peek inside a private Vail gallery |

Peek inside a private Vail gallery

Caramie Schnell
Vail CO, Colorado
HL Logan Art Tour 1 DT 2-10-09

VAIL, Colorado “-Good art won’t match your sofa, says Vail resident Vicki Logan. It will, however, make you think. It can arouse wonder, amusement, shock, sadness or even disgust. Really great art can be so provocative you might cycle through each of those emotions within a few minutes as you study.

On a recent snowy morning, Vail residents Kent and Vicki Logan opened their home and adjoining gallery ” which is filled with just part of their art collection ” to 36 fortunate Vail Symposium participants. While the gallery is private, the Logans ” who are well known in the art world for their contemporary collection ” open their doors to community organizations and groups.

The Logan’s have given most of the art away ” they donated a significant portion of the collection to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the late ’90s and, in 2006, they promised $60 million in art and assets to the Denver Art Museum, the single largest gift in the museum’s 113-year history.

As the group gathered in the Logan’s bright living room, Kent, a former Vail town councilman and investment banker, explained their beloved art collection ” its origins, scope and what’s been happening in the contemporary art scene since the economy tanked. Long story short, the bubble has burst. “Imagine everything that happened in the housing market and multiply that by 10 times and that’s really what was going on in the art world,” Kent said. “The whole art world was caught in a very commercial cycle. (Artists) churned it out, just repeated themselves because they could sell it for astronomical sums. The silver lining of a break in the market, such as the period we’re in today, is maybe they go back to the studio. I’m hopeful in a few years we’ll see another wave of creativity and interesting art.”

Though the Logans spent most of their adult lives in New York, they didn’t begin collecting art until they moved to San Francisco in the early ’90s.

“There’s really no interesting story about why we began (collecting),” Kent said. “It was very spontaneous. One of my new partners invited us for a walk amongst the galleries and we bought our first piece that day and it went straight down hill from there.”

The collection, which spans four decades, contains nearly 900 pieces created by 200 artists. The collection is anchored with recognized masters from the ’60s and ’70s who heavily influenced subsequent generations ” Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and Richard Diebenkorn to name a few. Warhol’s self portrait (1986) is the centerpiece of the Logan’s living room. The other two thirds of the collection represent artists who are living and working today, including contemporary Asian artists and many YBAs ” young British artists from the ’90s, like Damien Hirst. The Logan’s personally know most of the artists, he said. And unlike some art collectors who hire a consultant or an advisor, Kent and Vicki bought every piece in the collection, and never for investment purposes, because “ultimately you’re the one that lives with it,” Kent said.

“We don’t expect everyone to like the art. You’ll probably dislike a lot of it, but for better or worse, it’s our aesthetic,” he said.

With that, the group was free to wander around the home, taking in the drawings, paintings, sculptures and more tucked in every corner of the Logans’ home ” the kitchen, hallways, bathrooms and even on the decks ” before walking next door to the gallery. Taking in nearly 250 pieces of art in a little over an hour is a little overwhelming, but in a good way.

“When I see great art, it just fills me with awe at what we can accomplish as human beings,” said Vicky Lee, the communications director for the Vail Symposium.

Rounding a corner in the gallery, Lee gasped at the sight of one floor-to-ceiling painting of what she believed to be a dismembered monster. An hour later, over lunch, she mused how interesting it was that she found the painting startling without being offensive.

“It’s interesting because when I looked at the pieces, I learned more about myself by finding how I reacted to them,” Lee said a few days later. “Some contemporary art can be so provocative ” you really gauge where you are in life when you keep looking at art and see how you react. You find that your reactions can change over time.”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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