Microsoft Millions Fund Art Institute

SEATTLE -- Former Minneapolis art curator Ben Heywood will head Pivot Art + Culture, a new non-profit announced Friday in Seattle by Paul G. Allen, art collector and Microsoft co-founder.

Heywood was hired last month by Allen's private company, Vulcan.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network look forward to this impressive collaboration of curatorial expertise and endless money, which is likely to transform this city into a world art center.

Pivot Art + Culture will be a 4,000 square foot, two room gallery located in the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a research facility that the venture capitalist and philanthropist is developing on the edge of downtown Seattle in the South Lake Union neighborhood.

Scheduled to open in December, it is intended to be a cultural magnet in an area known as a tech and bio-medical hub.

Heywood said, "Allen is a great guy with extremely deep pockets and I think we can do some very exciting things here."

Heywood is still developing Pivot's program but said it will combine pieces from Allen's collection with the kind of experimental art that he worked with at The Soap Factory, the unconventional Minneapolis visual and performing arts space he ran for nearly 13 years prior to taking the Seattle job.

"It will combine alternative programming with traditional museum practices," Heywood said. "We want to produce exhibitions that people like and enjoy that also have great artistic integrity."

With a personal fortune estimated at $17.5 billion, Allen, pictured above beside his Rothko work, has the means to indulge his interests in sports (he owns the Seattle Seahawks football team and the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team), and lots of art.

In the past 25 years he has donated more than $100 million to arts and culture organizations while amassing a 300 piece private art collection that ranges from a 1625 painting by Jan Brueghel the Younger to a contemporary "spot" painting by Damien Hirst, along with Rothko, etc.

Forty landscape paintings from his collection will be shown in "Seeing Nature," opening October 10 at the Portland Art Museum.

The show, which includes masterpieces by J. M W. Turner, Claude Monet and Gustav Klimt, will travel to Washington, D. C., New Orleans and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts next year before closing at the Seattle Art Museum in early 2017.

Allen's company, Vulcan, also is a chief sponsor of the Seattle Art Fair.

Today's homepage Featured Art Video takes a look at Allen's $200 million yacht, Octopus, where he displays many of his artworks.