The Artemizia Foundation museum in Bisbee, Arizona is a must-see destination if you're a fan of contemporary, graffiti, and street art. Artemizia was founded in 2019 by Sloane Bouchever, an artist turned businessman turned art collector. (He's also a generous philanthropist). In a recent interview with Juxtapoz Magazine, Bouchever explains his entry into collecting contemporary, graffiti, and street art:
Eventually putting my art career on the back burner, in a fit of inspiration in the mid-nineties, it came to me that the Internet had a future and that future was commerce. I was hired as SVP of Business Development at a start-up called Authorize.Net that processed payments on Websites. My career took off, and eventually I was fortunate enough to be in a position to start an art collection.
Beginning with Goya etchings and Chagall lithographs, my taste broadened to pieces by Antoni Tàpies and Montserrat Gudiol. I think it was at the Anselm Kiefer retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in 2015 that I first saw posters by the Guerrilla Girls. Their messaging rocked me…. and I changed my focus to living artists with an emphasis on female creatives like Barbara Kruger, Kara Walker and Yayoi Kusama. At that time, I launched Artemizia Gallery in the Bisbee historic district and hosted an exhibition of The Connor Brothers who came over from London. One day a collector walked in and we spent the next several hours passionately talking art. Steve Hansen offered to introduce me to Allison Freidan, co-founder of the Museum of Graffiti in Miami. Allison and I hit it off and I went on a spending spree, focusing on those graffiti writers who made the transition to easel work, including major works by Saber, Lady Pink and CES. At about that time, California street artist MuckRock (Jules Muck) came to Bisbee and painted wonderful murals on people's homes; Jules and I became fast friends and those two chance meetings really launched me into street art.
The Artemizia Foundation collection is housed in a beautiful, newly renovated space—a 9,000 square foot schoolhouse-turned-hotel that was built in 1917. The new space opened to the public in March, 2023. Bouchever explains (in Juxtapoz):
Last fall, my wife and I acquired a 9000 sqft run-down hotel, formerly a schoolhouse built in 1917, and after a top to bottom renovation, we launched the new Artemizia Foundation this past March. Bisbee is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the powers that be are sadly anti-mural on historic buildings, so I decided to bring the street inside, and created a labyrinth of murals out of 14 of the old hotel's interconnecting bedrooms, sitting rooms, bathrooms and closets. Artists came from London, NYC, Montreal, Firenze and LA to paint murals and install paste-ups. Participating international artists include Swoon, Cey Adams, Miss Me, MuckRock, Corie Mattie, WRDSMTH, Stikki Peaches, Whatisadam, Andrew Benincasa, and Sofia Cianciulli along with local and regional artists Aly Miller, Ignacio Garcia, Lily Reeves, Bill Mead, Tracy Brown and Isaac De La Cruz. The Mural Labyrinth is a twisting and sometimes twisted journey of discovery…
The Artemizia Foundation website describes Artemizia's mission and collection:
Founded in 2019, Artemizia Foundation is a contemporary, graffiti and street art museum, gallery, and educational facility presenting world-class exhibitions, sophisticated events and inspiring lectures. By exhibiting a dynamic collection of influential contemporary, graffiti and street artists from around the world, Artemizia Foundation seeks to provoke, inspire and educate.
Experience works by 100 artists from 40 countries including Banksy, Swoon, Cey Adams, PichiAvo, Warhol, Lady Pink, Willem de Kooning, Barbara Kruger, WRDSMTH, Kerry James Marshall, Vhils, Kara Walker, Tracey Emin, Keith Haring, Yayoi Kusama, Saber, MuckRock, Judy Chicago, CES, D*Face, Ai Weiwei, MissMe, The Connor Brothers, Li Hongbo, Wangechi Mutu, Martin Schoeller, LeDania, Shepard Fairey, Rayvenn D'Clark, Mando Marie, Jenny Saville and many more…
I was thrilled to be able to visit Artemizia last weekend and it was truly mind-blowing. It's one of the best collections of contemporary, street, and graffiti art I've ever seen. It is definitely worth a trip to Bisbee—I promise, you will not be disappointed!