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The Collecting Duo Pushing for Diversity

As museums grow, their collecting becomes more targeted, since they are building on an already substantial base of work. Gaps emerge to be filled, trends come along to be shaped and biases reveal themselves to be corrected.

If an expanding museum is lucky enough to have devoted supporters, sometimes they assist with strategic acquisitions. Atlanta’s High Museum of Art has found such patrons in the former Sotheby’s executive John Auerbach and the art consultant Ed Tang. The married couple have made it their mission to help the museum diversify its collection of contemporary works, some of which they find at art fairs like this week’s Frieze New York.

Over the last two years, Mr. Auerbach and Mr. Tang have played a role in 16 acquisitions, sometimes providing part or all of the funds for a purchase and other times giving work outright.

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