The Hong Kong-based British collector Shane Akeroyd is not your usual art patron. His passion for art has led to a vast collection that now boasts more than 1,500 works of various art forms, reflecting the evolving discourse of contemporary art and issues such as race, identity, and gender politics. He also sits on boards and committees of institutions such as Chisenhale Gallery and Tate in London, as well as M+ and the nonprofit art space Para Site in Hong Kong.
In addition, the 58-year-old fintech entrepreneur has been backing a number of art initiatives around the world in support of global talents. These include the presentation of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s VR performance at the Aichi Triennale in Japan last year and Sarah Lucas’s upcoming retrospective at London’s Tate Britain in September, as well as the Shane Akeroyd Associate Curator of the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, lasting from 2022 (when it won the Golden Lion) through 2030.
And now, Akeroyd is taking his commitment to art further with the launch of the Akeroyd Collection, an online platform that shines a light on his nearly 200-strong collection of moving-image works that he began assembling more than 20 years ago. The platform acts as an archive of the collection, featuring an international roster of artists including Angela Su, Nikita Gale, Sin Wai Kin, and Sonia Boyce. The platform also comes with an evolving online screening program, in addition to newly commissioned works and text available to the public for free.
“The original idea was to make the platform accessible not just for others but also for me,” Akeroyd told Artnet News. “The project is an attempt to turn the less tangible into something more tangible. Once the collection began to have form, the possibility of curatorial activation and discourse became more evident.”
The collector noted that “community versus vanity” was the project’s guiding principle from the beginning, and he hoped to share the collection with those who might not ordinarily have access. “Activating this is an important next step for sharing the works I have been able to assemble,” he said.
We caught up with Shane Akeroyd about which moving-image works have moved him to buy and how they play into his overall collection.
What was your first purchase?
The first moving image work I bought was (1996) by Adam Chodzko. I can’t remember how much it cost, but it wasn’t a lot. I already had a few pieces by Adam and thought he was a great artist working across different media and not just moving image.
My first non-moving image purchase was a Ray Richardson painting in 1989. My collection includes works in all media.
What was your most recent purchase?
Today I bought Alex Da Corte’s . I have just visited Alex’s comprehensive show at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa.
Tell us about a favorite work in your collection.
It’s tough to say. I have a few works by Alex and he’s great. I’ve been thinking a lot about Martine Syms, Diego Marcon, and Aki Sasamoto at the moment, and Joan Jonas and Mark Leckey, who have paved the way for so many. Away from moving images, Sarah Lucas is my all-time favorite.
Which works or artists are you hoping to add to your collection this year?
I recently bought a Mike Kelley work and would love more. I have Derek Jarman’s non-moving image works in the collection, but no films. These are an essential addition.
What is the most valuable work of art that you own?
I don’t really think about art in those terms.
Where do you buy art most frequently?
Galleries I am close to. Sadie Coles HQ has been the closest for a long time.
Is there a work you regret purchasing?
I never regret anything, although I have bought work that I have grown out of or got the second-best pieces when I should have bought the best.
What work do you have hanging above your sofa? What about in your bathroom?
Denzil Forrester [painting ] and Thornton Dial [a mixed-media painting] over the sofa. [Wall-based sculptures by] Trevor Yeung in my bathroom.
What is the most impractical work of art you own?
Many big works I can’t even fit into my house. That’s my next project!
What work do you wish you had bought when you had the chance?
There are a few, but that is the trait of an obsessive collector. I remember playing street hockey with Peter Doig in the early ‘90s and not being polite or smart enough to inquire about his paintings.