Interior Decorating Gone Wild

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm

While I try to mask my shoe-box sized apartment’s bland white walls with a non-thematic array of street-fair purchased art, framed posters and photographs of my family and friends, I have often day-dreamed about owning a home (one day – in the distant future). These day-dreams involve thoughts of carefully planned-out interior decor – ranging from a modern living room with plush leather chairs and one painted red wall, an ornate Louis XVI-style bedroom, and children’s rooms with pastel-painted walls and matching white furniture.

As interior decorating is a multi-million (perhaps even billion) dollar-a-year industry with the well-to-do filling their luxury condos, apartments and mansions with everything from expensive furniture to priceless art and the highest quality wallpaper, carpet, rugs, etc. and stores like  Home Goods and Target helping us “normal people” personalize our living  quarters, one UK homeowner has taken on the task of decorating her home in a truly unique myriad of styles.

Artist Ann Frith’s Brighton, UK home is flamboyantly decorated with turquoise tiles on the kitchen floor, geometric wallpaper and a lemon-yellow stairwell. As if the bold decor itself wasn’t enough to look at, her walls are covered with the artist’s extensive collection of contemporary art.

Frith remarks,

“I’m really affected by colors, and spend a long time making them work together. Cold blues upset me.”

The homeowner’s living room contains a Mexican mask from Oaxaca, a giant bronze fish by artist Mike Chaikin and a tiger-print rug from Nepal, but that’s not all. The same room contains an oversized Iroko armchair covered in retro fabric, and the wallpaper, reminiscent of 1950s prints, is patterned with vertical lines.

Frith’s husband, Simon Arnold, is a furniture maker. He built the kitchen cabinets and painted them off-white to complement the kitchen’s Spanish mosaic tiles. Upstairs, a red Orla Kiely wallpaper lines the study, and one of the bedrooms is covered with a hummingbird-print wallpaper.

The couple find many of their eclectic pieces while traveling to places like India, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Japan, China and South America, but they also roam local secondhand shops for hidden treasures. Frith tries to buy one artwork per year, purchasing only pieces she “loves.”

Each year the homeowners open their house in May for the Brighton Festival, Artists Open Houses.

Wow… I’d love to see Frith’s creatively-decorated home. I’m sure you could spend as much time looking around in awe as you could browsing priceless paintings at the Met or Tate.

Ikea Brings Contemporary Art to Russia and Eastern Europe

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 9:30 pm

The Swedish-gone-global Ikea Retail Company is planning a multi-million dollar project that includes the commission of contemporary artists, like Piotr Uklanski, Jeppe Hein and Jim Lambie, to create works for its colassal Moscow-based development due to open in 2012.

Ikea will roll out mixed-use spaces across Ikea locales in Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union. The massive 850,000 + square foot Mega Teply Stan retail park in Moscow will be the first such space and plans to include shops, restaurants, an ice-rink, and of course, an Ikea furniture store.

Simon Dance, of Simon Dance Design (who has been working with Ikea since 2007) recently discussed the venture in the Art Newspaper,

“The new building will be totally different to what’s there now. The idea is to create a day out, somewhere people want to spend time, especially in Moscow where it takes so long to get anywhere because the traffic is so bad,” says Dance.

He continues, stating the concept of the developments is to “fuse culture, commerce and leisure – and the works of art are a key part of our vision.”

Former Gagosian director Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, who’s the current coordinator of Dasha Zhukova’s Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow and Elliot McDonald, the curator of the Hiscox Collection, have been brought in to advise Ikea on the ambitious project. They are expecting that about four or five works will be commissioned for the Moscow project.

Fixing “The Actor”

In Uncategorized on February 5, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Picasso’s Rose Period painting “The Actor” has hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art for over half a century. However, after a woman taking an adult education class at the Met accidentally fell into the painting, causing a six-inch tear, experts are trying to determine how to go about fixing the delicate 105-year old painting.  Luckily, the vertical tear runs along the lower-right hand corner of the painting and does not disrupt the picture’s main focal points. Thus, according to a recently released statement, the repair will be “unobtrusive.”

In 2006, billionaire casino owner Stephen A. Wynn elbowed “Le Rêve (“The Dream”), a 1932 Picasso painting depicting a mistress of the painter (see image, below). While Wynn’s blunder produced a sizable hole, the fissure was masterfully repaired, leaving no visible signs of damage.

Apparently, though, repairing a 1904-created Picasso (such as “The Actor”) presents more problems than that of a torn 1932 Picasso because earlier canvases are more delicate, and the oil paint that Picasso used was thinner than the enamel-based kind he later used.

Painted when the artist was just 23-years old, “The Actor” is the largest piece created early in his career, and dealers estimate it is worth over $100 million. Accordingly, experienced art restorers have important decisions to make – as there are many options and a range of materials and instruments that could be used to repair the valuable painting.

Click here to read more about this story (including details about the painting, how restorers sometimes use acupuncture needs to fix damaged paintings, and about further issues plaguing the painting’s restoration).