Shop talk, answers to your FAQs, and a peek behind the scenes of an artist-run fine art gallery in Park Slope
For those who decorate a tree for the holidays, one of the joys of the season is the once-a-year excitement of unpacking familiar ornaments. These family heirlooms are really small works of art, literally the result of school or home art projects, and are the closest many of us come to the pleasures, and conflicts, of collecting art. There is an appreciation of beauty and craftsmanship, an emotional attachment to specific pieces, and all too often the heartbreak over the loss of a special piece damaged in transit. We each have our own style of decorating—some are minimalists, others hew to tradition–while we each experience the joy of adding meaningful ornaments to our collection.
When anyone is attracted to a work of art in a gallery, they each have their own personal reason for the attraction. Some are searching with a location in mind, waiting for just the right piece to place in some specific space such as a focal point for a room or a quiet niche somewhere. Others are so drawn to the artwork that they never think of interior design at all. Some people love a piece, but worry that they could never live with it; someone else seeks the dramatic effect of a bold statement. The disturbing or provocative image may provide just enough spice in an otherwise innocuous setting if the image is small or placed in a personal space like a library or a bedroom. In fact, a guest bath is the perfect place for a small humorous or risqué work of art, as long as it is framed properly and placed where there will be no water damage.
Once a work of art is brought home and placed in the intimacy of a home, it becomes transformed by its new environment. This, I find, is one of the unsung wonders of collecting art even on a small scale. Art has a way of becoming part of who we are. It is there in family photos and quietly becomes a permanent part of our lives. It’s there in the dining room during every family celebration, it hangs above the favorite chair where one seeks solace in reading a book. A beloved painting welcomes us home after a vacation or invites us into the refuge of a bedroom at the end of a long day. Children absorb the artwork’s presence and it becomes part of their childhood memories.
When people ask about buying art as an investment, the best advice is to consider the purchase in terms of pleasure. One should buy only what one loves, because the real investment value, no matter the provenance or price, is in the joy it brings and in the memories it will enrich.
The photographs here all document art as it is installed in actual homes. They reflect the personalities of the owners as well as that of the artists. The first image features an antique Christmas ornament that hangs year round above an artist’s work table. An eclectic arrangement of works by several artists is grouped for a big impact in one living room and in another home a minimalist modern interior is warmed by vibrant colors. A group of smiling cousins pose under a familiar painting during a family holiday while the focal point of a fireplace is enhanced by the art above the mantle. A mural in the dining room below is more than just a backdrop; it is a personal and lively participant in the convivial gathering of friends.