From www.123rf.com- one of the millions of hits you get from a google image search for “art”
My sister and her husband are condo-shopping, and she’s been sending me listings of places they’re interested in. One place, an absolutely gorgeous, HUGE condo, was made all the more gorgeous by the really amazing art collection the current owners had all over the walls. My mom, who went to see it with my sister and who knows some things about art, said she was “shocked” by the breadth and quality of the collection, given the owners’ relative youth. (This perhaps explained the seller’s total unwillingness to negotiate on price of the condo at all- seems they perhaps are people of substantial means and can afford to sit an unsold condo for a while. Bummer for my sister, she really liked it.)
While we are unlikely to be shocking anyone with our art collection any time soon (framed print of a beer poster, anyone?) this conversation did get me thinking that I’d like to be a person who has art. I feel like a fraud even using the term – I certainly harbor no delusions that I know anything about “art,” and what makes good art, and which artists I should “collect” or anything high-flying like that. But I’d like to own one or two things that are pretty and interesting and not mass-produced. I’d like to start by buying a painting (probably) to go over the mantel in our bedroom. We have this huge, HUGE blank wall in our bedroom where the previous owners clearly had a painting hanging, and 2.5 years after moving in it’s still as empty as the day we arrived. I’d like to change that.
Trouble is, I don’t know where to begin. My parents have art that they bought when they were young- stuff from then-young artists, bought to decorate their first apartments as young adults, then their first home together. It’s not necessarily fancy stuff- while some of the pieces have appreciated (they have a super cool Jud Fine pencil drawing from 1971 that now hangs in our entryway, for example, bought by my dad for a song in the early 70s,) mostly it’s just stuff they really liked, that they’ve kept for all these years. Most of the pieces will never be hugely valuable, but is now a cool and important part of our family home.
It seems like a concept from a foreign time- people in their 20s and early 30s buying original art to decorate their places? Huh? Was that a normal thing in the late 60s/early 70s, or were my parents just the sort of people committed to the arts who prioritized that over other purchases? (That *seems* unlikely, knowing them now, but I could be wrong…) Are behind, having never bought any kind of art-thing? I suspect our hastily-framed concert posters will not have similar staying power. (Though I do still have my dad’s original Monterey Pop Festival poster hanging in our basement. It’s pretty rad.)
I’d like to start filling our empty wall spaces with some stuff that we could pass on to our kids some day- not because its valuable, necessarily, but because it’s part of our family history. But my question is…how? I am willing to save up a little to invest in something we really love- but I’m not interested in (or in a position to) drop several grand on a traditional oil landscape, you know? I would love to find something a little more modern, or by a younger artist…but I frankly don’t even know where to begin. Go check out galleries in the edgy hipster part of town, where I’m sure to feel like a poser but maybe I’ll find something fun? Look online somewhere?
Guidance welcome- artists you love, galleries in Chicago to check out, online resources- I’ll take it. Otherwise we’ll probably just end up framing another beer poster.