The collection, indeed, has become influential amongst a certain set; Dean has encouraged his friends, in particular, to take a closer look at art. “All my peers in music used to laugh at me when I started collecting 10 years ago. Now they’re competing with me,” he said, laughing. He noted that several of his friends have already staked their claim to works from “No Commission.” Knicks player Carmelo Anthony will head home with five, after the show is deinstalled.
But for Dean, art collecting has become more than a hobby, investment strategy, or status symbol—it’s an ideology that drives both his philanthropic efforts in the art space, like “No Commission,” and his personal purchases for the Dean Collection. Today, he buys only work by living artists, from the obscure to the established, who he can get to know, and he’s banned himself from re-selling any works that he purchases. “People have tried to buy that KAWS from me so many times,” he said with a grin. “But I’ll never sell anything that goes into the Dean Collection. It’s a museum that I’m building for my kids to run, one day, and it will be filled with artists who I know, who I have a dialogue with,” he continued. “I think it’s important to have that linkage.”
As 6:30 rolled around, people flooded into “No Commission” and its grounds, where a stage was already vibrating with heavy bass. (“Music and art are brothers and sisters, I want to bring them back together,” Dean explained.) Cuba Libres were imbibed voraciously—Bacardi sponsored the event, and it was upwards of 90 degrees outside—while artist
and Brooklyn Museum
director Anne Pasternak strolled in, the young Jahmal rubbed elbows with his elder
, and KAWS showed up and began to chat with Dean.