The music industry power duo of Alicia Keys and Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean are set to show selections from their art collection next year at the Brooklyn Museum, before donating “significant works” for the institution’s permanent collection. The partnership will be inaugurated with the exhibition Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys (10 February-7 July 2024), which is being organised by the museum’s curator of Modern and contemporary art, Kimberli Gant.
Giants will feature works by Gordon Parks, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lorna Simpson, Kehinde Wiley, Nina Chanel Abney and others. In a statement, Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak described Keys and Dean as “among the most vocal advocates for Black creatives to support Black artists through their collecting, advocacy and partnerships”.
In an interview with Cultured magazine on the importance of supporting living artists, Dean said that “the collection started not just because we’re art lovers, but also because there’s not enough people of colour collecting artists of colour”. Giants is organised around this principle, beginning with Keys and Dean’s own artistic influences and moving outward to examine how they affect each aspect of their collection.
The exhibition’s title reflects the multifaceted nature of their holdings, known as the Dean Collection. In the section “On the Shoulders of Giants”, artists Esther Mahlangu, Kwame Braithwaithe, Malick Sidibé, Parks, Basquiat, Barkley L. Hendricks and Ernie Barnes will be celebrated for their “indelible mark on the world” and ability to represent the world around them, while laying “the foundation for current and future generations of artists”. Similarly, the section “Giant Conversations” will highlight how artists such as Simpson, Nick Cave, Jerome Lagarrigue and Henry Taylor have critiqued the world around them. The last section of the show, “Giant Presence”, will feature monumental works by Abney, Arthur Jafa, Titus Kaphar and Meleko Mokgosi.
Regarding the planned donation of works from the Dean Collection following Giants, a Brooklyn Museum spokesperson tells The Art Newspaper that details of the donation will be revealed during the run of the show. The spokesperson adds that the museum is “excited to be partnering with the Dean Collection, particularly as the museum already has existing relationships with so many of the artists in their collection”.