Show and Tell

Show and Tell

Compulsive art collector Salah Bachir flaunts his glitteriest, gayest pieces in
a new WorldPride exhibit. Here, a look at the iconic works on display

Scrapbook: Show and Tell
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Scrapbook: Show and Tell
(Image: Tom Sandler)
Every surface inch of Salah Bachir’s two-storey lakeside condo is plastered with iconic art: a pair of Warhol’s Marilyns hang in the office, Herb Ritts’s glamour shots of Elizabeth ­Taylor in the upstairs corridor, colourful pieces by Canadian painters Attila Richard Lukacs and Stephen Andrews in the ­dining room, and a portrait of an American Gigolo–era Richard Gere in all his nude, lion-haired glory near the bathroom. Bachir, the 58-year-old Cineplex president, is known for his flamboyant style (he often dresses like a genie in billowy satin robes and hoop earrings) and lavish philanthropy (his nickname on the society circuit is Gala Salah). He’s also one of the city’s pre-­eminent art patrons, rotating his 3,000-piece collection between the condo he shares with his partner, the artist Jacob Yerex—they recently bought the unit upstairs for more wall space—and a country house in Paris, Ontario, decorated to look like a rococo French salon. Bachir began amassing art in the early ’80s after befriending Keith Haring and ­Robert Mapplethorpe on trips to New York City. In fact, it was Haring who persuaded Bachir to buy his first Warhol, a 1957 “Happy Butterfly Day” drawing. Now, with 75 pieces, Bachir ranks among the top 50 Warhol collectors in the world. He buys works that stoke his obsession with queer identity, whether in the form of cheeky camp or sultry homoeroticism. In honour of WorldPride, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is showcasing a selection of Bachir’s most famous pieces. Here, the stories behind a few of our favourites.

Over the Rainbow

From the collection of Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex
June 21 to Aug. 17