San Francisco, CA
In the early stages of California couple Kalah Espinoza and David Agger's art collecting journey, proximity was paramount. For David, it began with on-the-job exposure to multiple genres of art while working at art auction house Butterfield & Butterfield. Even closer to home, he started collecting work by artists including Ed Rusche, Sam Francis and Vija Celmins, who were all located in his Venice, CA neighborhood. Today, his unofficial job title is ‘world dominating solar investor guy,’ and Kalah is a VP at Colliers International in the multifamily capital markets division. The couple’s enthusiasm for photographers and artists like Edward Burtynsky, Mona Kuhn, JR, John Chiara, Ananke Asseff, Richard Learoyd, Liu Bolin and Olafur Eliasson is evident in a collection they describe as “focused on photography with a theme towards the intersection of the environment and its effect on the human condition.”
Extending beyond their art collection and into their family home is the couple’s commitment to pursuing an environmentally conscientious lifestyle. Kalah is passionate about creating a more sustainable life and home through minimalism, energy conservation and reducing the use of plastics and single use items. Perhaps drawing a distinct contrast between indiscriminate accumulation and a thoughtful art collection makes it easier for what’s meaningful to rise to the top. “Art and beauty enhance the spiritual experience of life,” explains Kalah. “Art helps to remind us of the different perspectives, experiences and emotions that make up this world. Having art in our home helps to bring us back to center.”
“We're inspired by art that makes a political statement through its beauty and imagery and makes people think about their surroundings and misbeliefs — art that gives people a voice.”
Tell us about the best piece of art you didn't see coming.
“The Andrew Goldsworthy Spire in San Francisco's Presidio forest. While engaging in an urban hike, you stumble upon this amazing sculpture with no context necessary. You recognize that this is a thing of beauty without knowing who created it or why. Sadly, it was recently set afire. [The sculpture] was intended to be temporary, so maybe this was a fitting exit.” — Kalah Espinoza
Any new acquisitions you’d like to mention?
“We just purchased a series of drawings by @strangedirt that spoke to us. The pieces from her ‘Sanctuary' collection speak to us about how important a place for peace and home is in this moment of pandemic and environmental distress in California and across the world. It was outside of our typical genre, but we feel it’s important to support artists in our communities, especially right now.” — David Agger
How do you curate the art you see on a daily basis at home?
“For years I’d been looking for the perfect photograph to contrast an Annie Leibovitz photograph of Woody Allen located in my dressing room. It reminds me of the misogyny that still exists in our world. It was a mission to find the perfect counter message, and we found it in a Hassan Hajjaj photograph of Cardi B. Cardi represents a powerful woman of color who has been active and vocal about civic engagement at a moment in history where young people, people of color, and women need a strong voice to advocate for them and show them it's our time to engage civically. The image of a powerful woman, confidently embracing and owning her voice and presence was the perfect counterbalance we were looking for.” — David Agger
What artist from history would you most like to meet?
“Adélaïde Labille-Guiard. She was an advocate for women in art in the 1700's and was one of the first women to become a member of the Royal Academy. She was the first female artist to set up a studio for her students at the Louvre. Fighting for women's rights today is hard work; I can't imagine it in the 1700's! She must have been an incredible woman.” — Kalah Espinoza