For many, the height of the art world lies in a museum — it’s masterpieces by Renoir, Picasso, Rodin, Calder, Da Vinci. But alongside this mentality is the adage that all art is subjective. So how do you reconcile the two? How do you break down the divide between good art and great art to best appreciate it — and maybe even take it home? Start local.
If you live in New York, there’s an incredibly high chance that if you look, you’ll find that art is all around you. Local vendors. Antique sales. Friends taking classes. None of these should be overlooked as potential opportunities to bring a fresh artistic perspective into your life and your space. The best thing about art is that, ultimately, its purpose is to bring beauty and character into the world. When the veil of ‘the great artist’ is removed, it becomes much simpler to relate to art on a more personal level. Let your feelings toward what you’re looking at guide you.
Use your interest in certain famous artists to help you understand what types of art you’re drawn to. Find yourself staring at a Dalí every time you spot one? You’re likely a fan of surrealism. Do you gravitate towards Monet’s waterlilies? Likely, the art you’re after is impressionist. Even Giacometti’s modernist sculptures influence art in today’s local marketplace. Once you start to develop a sense of what you like to see in a museum setting, you’re ready to hit the streets.
When we say vendors, we mean a lot of different things. A local vendor near you could be the street artist you pass on your morning run. Next time you’re out, why not stop and have a look? If you’re lucky enough to live in a neighborhood with an established or burgeoning art scene (like Two Bridges!), why not pop in and see what the vibe of the art is? Depending on where you choose, this might be a good place to start for beginning an art collection. Local vendors can also mean checking out your favorite home goods store or coffee shop. They often feature in-the-neighborhood artists and you never know where you’ll find your new favorite piece.
If you’re the type of appreciator that favors the old world, Michelangelo-like realist styles of art, a great place to source new pieces for your home come in the form of antique markets and estate sales. Sure, sometimes there are pieces that might not do much for you, or might cost a pretty penny, but it’s always good to see what’s on offer. You can find all sorts of new old pieces at places like the Brooklyn Flea if you have the eye and the patience for the hunt.
Your personal network
This one is a personal favorite source of art — your friends and family. With a very real craft
renaissance underway, the time is ripe to tap into your own network. You’d be surprised how creative the people around you can be. Your banker friend might be getting into calligraphy, your sister may be taking a night photography course, that co-worker in HR might actually be a whiz on the loom. Ask around! You’ll come away with pieces that have double the meaning for you because you know the artists personally. And who knows? Maybe your living room is their next stop on a fast track to The Met.