Lio Malca is a renowned Colombian art collector, gallerist and hotelier with projects in New York (USA), Ibiza (Spain) and Tulum (Mexico). Although he came from a family dedicated to the textile business, Lio Malca focused his career on collecting art instead.
In the early 1990s, Malca showed interest in young artists who were involved in the New York cultural scene. He was especially passionate about artists who pushed the limits of high and low art. Throughout the 1990’s, Malca continued to invest in emerging art markets. Since then, Malca has expanded his interests as a collector, following his intuition and using his personal taste as a guide.
Malca’s collection is centered on the acquisition of works that defy the established historic narratives of high art and blur the boundaries between the academic and the museum with the urban and the popular. He was a visionary promoter of Basquiat's work when Basquiat was only recognized by smaller circles in the art world. Malca was also deeply interested in artists such as Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf, now both iconic figures of Street art and contemporary art movements. He was a consistant supporter of their emerging art markets. Later, he began to collect work from Lowbrow artists such as Mark Ryden and Marion Peck. Malca continues to collect from artists that have continued the legacy of Pop Art, such as KAWS.
Lio Malca’s collection has evolved. He has acquired works from Latin American, African and European artists, such Thomas Ochoa (Ecuador), Jacob El Hanani (Morroco) and Zilvinas Kempinas (Lituania). Since 2002, Malca has been collecting contemporary Asian art. He has acquired works by artists such as Hiroshi Sugimoto, Keiichi Tanaami, Nobuyohsi Araki, and Yue Minjun.
As a collector, Malca’s artistic inclinations grow in acccordance with the contemporary avant-garde. Recently, he has become interested in artists who incorporate new technology into their work, such as Brody Condon, Joanie Lemercier, and Quayola. While valuing technological developments in the art world, Malca maintains an appreciation for 20th century artists already held in high regard, such as the Italian-Mexican surrealist Pedro Friedeberg, of which Malca holds more than 100 works in his collection.
Lio Malca is not only an art collector. He is committed to creating spaces and projects where he canshow his collection to the public. He has a passion for promoting curatorial projects, supporting artists directly, and working closely with established art dealers, galleries, and museums around the world. He deeply believes in the idea that art brings magic and meaning to life. His personal projects have the unique ability to generate accessible spaces where he is able toshow the works in his collection to the public. He has a gallery in New York, a boutique hotel in Tulum, and a contemporary art foundation in Ibiza.
Malca’s collection is managed at The Lio Malca Gallery in New York. There, he has organized more than a dozen temporary exhibitions, ranging from In your Face, where Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf Jean-Michel Basquiat’s works were exhibited, to Joga Bonito in 2019 with works by Vik Muniz. Malca personally helped sponsor Muniz’s career from the beginning, as he has done with other artists.
In 2014, he opened Casa Malca in Tulum, Mexico. Casa Malca is a hotel that is much more than a hotel. It is a luxury retreat where design and art envelop the guests within a magical reality. Part of Lio Malca’s collection is exhibited there; the works are shown in several indoor and outdoor spaces. The project at Casa Malca defines a unique concept in which people can enjoy the nature and the exquisite pleasures of the hotel, while also experiencing and living with works of art worthy of being in a museum. In 2020, he started Art Lodge, a residency program for artists at Casa Malca.
In 2015 Malca opened the Fundación La Nave Salinas in Ibiza (Spain), a non-profit foundation created to showcase contemporary art and give back to the community. La Nave Salinas is based in an old salt warehouse, which is located in the salt pans of Ibiza. The place has a commanding exhibition space of more than 300 square meters and more than 8m high ceilings. Impressive art installations from artists such as KAWS, Marco Brambilla, Keith Haring, Bill Viola, and Kenny Scharf have been shown there. Every year, The Foundation develops an ambitious curatorial project that includes an educational program, offering guided tours of the exhibition space and teaching workshops for local schools. These activities aim to bring contemporary art closer to people of all ages. They are offered free of charge, a principle that sets The Foundation apart from the many of the cultural projects on the island.
Lio's projects are alive. They continue to evolve, change, and grow, all while maintaining the Malca essence. He creatively continues to work on new projects and to expand current projects. As his collection continues to grow, Malca always stays true to the impulses of his intuition.