Steve Cohen, billionaire hedge fund manager, is lending works to US and UK museums

This change of stance has attracted controversy



The Connecticut-based hedge fund manager Steve Cohen of SAC Capital, one of the world’s biggest art collectors whose purchases include Warhol’s Turquoise Marilyn bought for around $80m in May, has never shown his art in public—until now.

His first loan, Damien Hirst’s famous shark, has gone on show at the Metropolitan Museum in New York for three years. Mr Cohen is loaning another Hirst, a pickled sheep, to the Bruce Museum in his home town of Greenwich, Connecticut (“Pleasures of Collecting, Part III” until 6 January 2008). And, in a major coup for the Baltic in the North of England, he will loan several works by Jeff Koons for an exhibition in February 2008.

Although undoubtedly welcomed by the museums involved, Mr Cohen’s loans have attracted some criticism. In a strongly-worded editorial on 20 July, The New York Times attacked the Metropolitan’s decision to borrow Damien Hirst’s shark: “It may appear as if Mr Cohen is doing the Met a favour by lending this work. In fact, it is the other way around…The only defence against the skewing of the art market created by collecting on Mr Cohen’s scale is to appropriate the collector himself.”

Speculation that Mr Cohen is thinking of opening his own gallery in Greenwich was denied by the collector himself in a rare comment to The Art Newspaper: “I think about a lot of things. I doubt there will be a museum any time soon.”

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘Steve Cohen reveals his art'