Anita Zabludowicz has a legendary reputation as an art collector. This is the case, in spite of the fact, that she buys rather unexpensive art from ‘emerging’ artist without any particular criteria. It is obvious that her strategy as a collector aims at accumulating so as to get one ‘succesful’ one once in a while to show off. In other words, in less than ten years, she amassed more than five thousands pieces that she exhibits in two different venues.
However, in order to understand how this kind of collector works and how philanthropy seems to be a diversionary fuss, it should be born in mind where the money comes from. According to an article in The Observer written by Rajeev Syal (Sunday 4 January 2009), Anita’s husband, Poju Zabludowicz inherited the money from his arms manufacturing and dealing father. In other words, that money comes from the production of weapons that killed Palestinian, Libanese and eventualy, Isreaeli people.
According to The Observer: ‘Britain’s most active pro-Israeli lobbying organisation – which flies journalists to Israel on fact-finding trips and organises access to senior government figures – has received nearly £1.4m in two years from a billionaire donor whose father made a fortune manufacturing arms in Israel. The British Israel Communication and Research Centre, known as Bicom, has been one of the most active organisations behind the scenes in the UK during the present Gaza offensive, organising briefings and interview opportunities with senior Israeli spokesmen.Its biggest funder is Poju Zabludowicz, a London-based tycoon, who has underwritten its campaigning since 2007. The disclosure comes amid an intense struggle in Britain between lobbying organisations working for both sides in the conflict. Foreign affairs specialists say that the injection of funds has ensured that Bicom has become one of the most persistent and slickest media operations in the battle for influence over opinion formers’.
Philantropy, Public Relations or Smoke Screen?
The Z couple appears in Art Review Power 100 lists for 2006-2012 which assesses the most powerful in the art world. In 2012, they were listed number 87. They founded the Z Collection in 1994 and she is trustee at Tate Modern since 1999.
How is Anita Zabludowicz’s ‘philantropy’ undestood? Well, she buys un-expensive art from ‘emerging’ artists that she keeps in her collection which is 100% private. Last week in Frieze she bought a $25,000 work and that piece of news appeared in all newspapers. Her press releases are constant and legendary so one has to believe that the investment might be considered as motivated from something different than ‘love of art’. She might actually be a genius who ‘launders’ ‘blood-drenched’ money without having to spend more than $10,000 a piece. Just a thought.