Ultimate Art Guide: From NYC's Finest Art Minds

We recently had the opportunity to attend this year's fabulous Architectural Digest Design Show on Pier 92 in NYC.  But, before sharing all our favorites from the show, we wanted to take a few minutes to talk about art.

Our ultimate art guide was inspired by the opening seminar moderated by Mayer Rus, West coast Editor of Architectural Digest.  The panel-style conversation included architect William T. Georgis, private art advisor Kim Heirston, and public curator Yvonne Force Villareal from the Art Production Fund.  The seminar began as a discussion prompted by the unusual question,

"Who's afraid of the Contemporary Art Market?"

"Who's Afraid of the Contemporary Art Market?" panel at 2017 AD Design Show in the Jenn-Air Master Class Studio

To be honest, I wasn't certain that I was afraid of the contemporary art market, yet as Mayor Rus moderated, a rush of awareness and care gradually surfaced.  Art is such a rich part of a home or office, yet it's not always easy finding and implementing art into a space.  Collector, consumer, or advisor, we've pulled together a guide to engaging in the contemporary art market that will open your eyes in a new way the next time you set out to implement art in your home or business. 

1. See For Yourself

Globalization has resulted in art that is accessible.  That's a good thing!  However, with accessibility comes a proliferation of art and unfortunately, an element of apathy.  With a growing supply and availability of art, we run into the problem of not looking at all, or first looking at cost, or first listening to what other's see and say before you see and listen first yourself.  

"People are looking at art with their ears." - Architect, William T. Georgis

Upper East Side Townhouse renovation and interior design by architect, William T. Georgis

This happens not only in art, but also in architecture and interior design.  Kim Heirston, Yale graduate and respected art advisor, urged,

"See art in a purer way."

Look for yourself.  Heirston does this by bringing her clients to a museum in order to get their reaction to a work of art.  Without prices posted in a museum, she is able to give the experience of seeing art and understanding the influence that artwork has on a client before guiding them to select art for their home or business.

With so many options for where to look and how to decide on artwork for your home, Heirston advises,

"Be choosy and edited. You cannot do it all."

There are countless art fairs, markets, and galleries the world over, and you will not be able to see them all.  Push back against conformity of taste and what others say and see.   Look for yourself.

George Condo painting - renovation and interior design by architect, William T. Georgis - 5th Ave Residence NYC

2. Slow Down to See

Technology increases the speed at which we do things.  It's primitive when we begin to reminisce about life before the advent of computers and mobile phones and Amazon Prime!  This is awesome, because we get stuff done so. much. faster.  That rapidity is also concerning, because it can be blinding.  

"People aren't looking." - Heirston

We don't slow down to smell the roses.  Instead, we live through the lens of our favorite Instagrammers.  That's also not all bad, but it does cost us the practice of slowing down to see and look and dwell on beauty and art for longer than a hot second.

"The best things happen over time." - Heirston

A George Condo painting in the Stockholm flat of fashion editor, Giovanna Battaglia-Engelbert (credit - Architectural Digest)

3. Look From Another Point of View

There are a lot of great artists, but a limited amount of control over what artists are given viewing space.  This creates a challenge with diversity in the broader art world, and results in a narrower lens through which we view and understand life.

Looking at all kinds of art is a better way to see.  

ArtPrize is a unique opportunity to create and view diversity in art because it displays an overwhelming range of artists of different age, ethnicity, gender, religion, and culture.  ArtPrize is paving the way for correcting the imbalance.  In 2014, ArtPrize introduced a new cash prize for the Paul Collins Diversity in Art Award, named for the Grand Rapids artist and intended for an artist of color.  Kevin Buist, exhibitions director for ArtPrize explains,

“As ArtPrize matures, it’s become clear that it’s not enough for the event to be radically open. To truly engage all audiences, we need to be radically inclusive."

(ArtPrize 2014: Paul Collins is namesake of a new $5,000 prize for an artist, by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk for MLive)

As ArtPrize and other public art initiatives have shown us, there is a hunger for public art that often sparks complex dialogue and ignites economic and social impact.

2017 installation - Bronze 'Fearless Girl' by Kristen Visbal in Manhattan's Financial District (credit - Mark Lennihan/Associated Press)

"Look. Learn. Research. See artists who are changing the language... Artists we love are not too in your face.  We look for something an art historian and a child would both love.  You need to have a curatorial eye. - Heirston

The more exposure to all kinds of art we have, and the more we take the time to look, the more we see and understand.  Art is a complex and beautiful lens into the hearts and minds and souls of people around us.

'Open Water no. 24' painting by Ran Ortner - 2009 ArtPrize winner installed at Reserve GR (credit - Brett Maxwell Photography)

4. Bring Art Home

If you find a contemporary artist that you love, it's an exciting opportunity to celebrate their work.

 "Commission an artist.  Have them submit a rendering.  - Heirston

Both as a designer and a client, we can take a leap by handing over a room to an artist.  We saw interior designers, Phillip Thomas and Garrow Kedigan take that risk at Kips Bay Showhouse last May with outstanding results.

Graffiti artist Andrew Tedesco Studios, Phillip Thomas for Kips Bay 2016

Rajiv Surendra, chalk artist and calligrapher, Napolean Room by Manhattan interior designer Garrow Kedigan for the 2016 Kips Bay Designer Showhouse

"Do something site specific or unique.  Imagine it!  You have to relinquish your ego." - Yvonne Force Villareal

Art is not an afterthought.  Far too often, both in commercial and residential design we hear, 'Oh, we have to hang some art.'

"Decorating is not a bad word.  Think about art first." - Heirston

Decorating with art can be an integral and inspiring part of a design project.  When art is dismissed or overlooked, the space suffers.  Instead of living with art that feels flat, making it a central part of your environment can bring a room to life.


Need some help getting your interior design project going? Hiring a professional like the interior designers at Jennifer Butler Interior Design is a great place to start. We can help you bring definition to your ideas for your home, office, business, new construction, renovation or remodel.  This frees you to focus on your family, your work, your travel and recreation while our experts take care of the design and implementation.  Rest assured that our designers will create interiors that realize your vision for spaces that meet your lifestyle and workstyle needs and visually reflect your design style.  Sign up for inspiration.  Contact us to get started.  We'd love to hear about what you are dreaming about.