Collector’s Edition: Ben Dietz

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In this new series, “Collector’s Edition,” we ask people about their personal art collections—from the first piece of art they ever bought to what they want to acquire next. Last time we spoke to Chris Perez, and this time we reached out to Ben Dietz, who has been the director of business development for VICE media since 2004.

Continue reading to learn about what Ben collects.

mcginess

What was the first piece of art you bought or acquired?

I’ve always tried to bring home cool pieces since I was a kid, which started with skateboard stickers and hardcore show flyers, but the work that started me on “collecting,” if you want to call it that, was a Stephen Powers “daily status report” drawing from a show in 2004 at McCaig-Welles in Williamsburg. It’s still one of my very favorites. My wife also worked downstairs from Ryan McGinness in 2001, and bought me one of his living room paintings along with a skateboard deck of his for Christmas, so a big credit to her too.

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What art do you have in your personal collection now?

We are a little bit all over the place. Aside from Steve Powers, who is my favorite, I’ve pulled together prints from Ed Ruscha, Todd James, Misha Hollenbach, Wes Lang, Faile, HunterGatherer, Marcus Oehlen, Hisham Bharoocha, Terence Koh and a bunch of the Space 1026 guys, photos from Peter Sutherland, Sandy Kim, Todd Jordan, Jim Mangan, Ryan Foerster, Hilary Pecis, Bryan Derballa and Andrew Paynter, and unique pieces from Gordon Hull, Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Alex Lukas, Isaac Tin Wei Lin and Andrew Kuo. Plus a bunch of the Supreme artist series decks. And pottery and tiles from my mom, who’s been a ceramicist my whole life. I think that’s pretty much it.

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What is your favorite piece in your collection?

I guess it’s probably the Steve Power’s drawing I mentioned earlier. It’s a bunch of little drawings of his trademark turns of phrase, probably 40 or so individual vignettes or whatever you want to call them, and a different one grabs my attention every time, which gives it the quality of a great album. It’s felt marker on paper, which has meant the red ink has faded really badly over time, and that sort of marks the years, too. I’ve got to ask Steve to help me with restoring it one of these days.

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What art would you like to add to your collection?

I’m attracted to word-based work, so Ed Ruscha is a favorite, more of his stuff would be amazing. Saving my pennies now… Working at VICE has meant I’ve gotten to meet and work with some amazing photographers and artists over the years; I’ve got a long list of them I need to buy something from when the time is right.

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Do you collect anything besides art?

I love books, and have a lot of them, though that’s more “accumulating” than “collecting.” It’s key for me that the stuff I spend money on is enjoyable right now, but is also durable and continues to be valuable for the stories they bring to mind long term.

lukas

What did you collect as a child?

Comic books, stickers, hardcore flyers—the standard stuff. It’s only as an adult that I’ve managed to hang on to anything for sustained periods of time.

Title design by Taylor McKimens; portrait of Ben by Bryan Derballa

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