Saturday, June 20, 2009


Mouse prefers to display art in hand's reach. Especially sculpture. Not because she takes owning something so lovely lightly. And not because pedestals are so very hard to find. (They are). Rather, she insists that there's a difference between living with art and exhibiting it. 

In museums and galleries, it's been the golden rule that environment should not interfere with the display of art. Our Richard Serra print, with layers upon layers of black ink, for example belongs on a white wall and the artist wouldn't approve of it any other way—or so a close friend and director of a major American museum tells me. 

When it came to helping this friend hang art in her own home, however, we convinced her that it was okay to group items in vignettes for reasons of personal sentiment or expression. 
She managed to overcome her fear that serious art friends would disapprove of her "stacking" art. She never, however, could fathom how I kept moving a mantel's vase just a few inches over so that it's foliage would ever so subtly overlap a painting's corner. 

Layers are what makes a home more interesting. And in homes, as in life at large, art can be a very personal sort of discovery. If capturing that—even inviting it—is so very unsavory to the artists whose work we scrimp to collect than perhaps they can advise us of a museum that's going condo? 

On the wall behind our dining table we've interspersed a large Richard Serra print between the body of a Jasper Johns series and its framed frontispiece. I wish we had a round table instead of rectangular and that we had a bit more floorspace to pull the table away from the wall. But space and budgets are limited, even more so if you're a collector.

The wall behind is painted a flat white. I'm thinking the art will appear to come forward more if I add a subtle texture instead--maybe white wall paneling, maybe white felt, or a even a finely woven grasscloth. I'm also thinking of inviting Serra over for dinner. Think he'll come? 

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