Context shapes how viewers interpret objects, no doubt about it. Observing a painting in a museum strikes a reverential chord, seeing the same one in a commercial gallery speaks to commodification, and if hung on the walls of a restaurant (like Mark Rothko’s murals for the Four Seasons) an untrained eye may think it’s merely decoration. But in a home, that’s where things get personal.
Artists Living With Art, a new book by Stacey Goergen and Amanda Benchley from the publisher Abrams, invites readers inside the residences of renown practitioners like Tauba Auerbach, Cindy Sherman, and Chuck Close to see what they collect and how they’ve incorporated the works into their lives.
Robert Storr, dean of the School of Art at Yale, sums it up succinctly: “Unlike collectors who approach art like postage stamps or stock portfolios, artists acquire and put up things that mean something very specific to them, things that energize them and help them to make their work better and more distinctive.”
For Leo Villareal, the artist who installed 25,000 LEDs on the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, and his wife Yvonne Force, cofounder of the Art Production Fund, their home becomes a gallery for Villareal’s own work and pieces from their friends, many of which are loaned out for public exhibitions.
Cindy Sherman‘s diverse collection includes works on both ends of the fame spectrum. “I try to support smaller galleries and young, lesser-known artists,” she says in the book. “It’s about how I relate to myself as a young artist.”
The moral of the story? Surround yourself with things that speak to you, whatever that conversation may be.