Nazem Ahmad started collecting art nearly 30 years ago and has since amassed a spectacular collection that encompasses various media and genres. The Lebanese art lover owns various pieces by the likes of Marc Quinn, Ai Weiwei, Gerhard Richter, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Thomas Heatherwick. Part of his collection is displayed in his Beirut penthouse apartment, allowing guests to experience some of the world’s most breath-taking contemporary masterpieces. He spoke to Selections about his great passion for art and his future plans to make his stupendous collection available to all.
How did you get caught up in art?
I started collecting art in the 1990s with a work on paper by Pablo Picasso. However, I got extremely involved with the NAR Collection a few years later, as I wanted to expand a collection that had strength and perpetuity. I’ve always been really concerned in having the NAR Collection as an educational collection.
How has your knowledge of art been developed and strengthened? Do you use advisors or choose works purely on your own?
I really believe in the saying “the more you see the more you learn.” Once my daughter asked me what would be the best advice I could give her in regards to constantly developing her knowledge of art. I then told her the more you’ll get to see exhibitions and art from all over and all kinds of media, the more you will be able to fulfil your encyclopaedia of the arts. Your eye will mature and distinguish what you like and what you don’t. So in my theory, the more you get to see art the more you learn to exercise your discernment and apply criteria
What inspired you to invest your money and time in collecting art?
My main motive is to collect works that I fall in love with, I don’t really look at the investment part it just follows. As for my time, collecting art is my passion, it’s in my blood, it’s a strong and barely controllable emotion.
Do you buy out of passion or for investment?
I buy out of passion. If you’re investing in art as a collector, buy what you like. Surround yourself with what you define as beautiful, fun or creative, whatever aesthetically pleases you.
How important is an artwork for you? Does it become part of your family?
I consider each artwork of my collection to be part of my family. The art matures with us as a family throughout time.
Middle installation – Antony Gormley
The art piece on the right wall – Barbara Kruger
The art piece in the middle – Gerhard Richter
On the right – Joseph Klibansky
The art piece on the left – Yayoi Kusama
On the right – Yayoi Kusama
The installation in the middle – Marc Quinn
In the middle – Aaron Garber Maikovska
Installation beside the window – Kaws
On the left wall – Jean – Michel Basquiat
Right – Ayman Baalbaki
Middle art piece â€“ Lucio Fontana
Wall on the right, first from up – Otto Piene
Middle – Mark Grotjhan
Bottom – ED Ruscha
Right – Tomoo Gokita
Down – Tomoo Gokita
On the right – KAWS
On the wall – Christian Rosa
Gold installation – Zio Ziegler
On the left wall – Rudolf Stingel
Work by Nazem Ahmad’s son
Upper photo – Joseph Klibansky
On the wall – Gunther Forg
Blue installation on the floor – Ai Weiwei
On the left – Will Martyr