The Financial Times looks at the increasing number of artists who are making household products in large numbers and the company, Artware, that produces them:
Certainly, this is not a new phenomenon. Donald Judd and Isamu Noguchi both produced classics decades ago, while Salvador Dalí was famously inspired by Mae West to make his lips sofa. But it is significant that, today, a company such as Artware can thrive solely by selling such work.
Run by two former art gallerists and based in a closet-sized shop in Manhattan’s West Village, the three-year-old business works with a roster of artists, selling classics, such as Yves Klein’s gold-leaf-filled glass tables, alongside commissions such as Gerrard’s cutlery or the rococo cuckoo clock soon to launch from painter Kehinde Wiley.
[ . . . ] There’s a commercial element too. Just as less expensive prints of an artist’s work are designed to whet buyer’s appetites for the real thing, so too are art-furnishings. Las Vegas-based art adviser Michele C Quinn points to the Puppy vase that pop artist Jeff Koons produced a few years ago. “It was an edition of 3,000, unheard of in the multiples world – just a mass marketing piece for $500. But I saw one at auction sell for almost $11,000 at the height of the market. It’s a great way to have a Koons and not spend millions of dollars.”
In general, though, she doesn’t think artist-designed furniture or homewares should be seen as the same kind of investment as paintings, sculptures or video installations. Rather than heirlooms-in-waiting, they are more dinner-party conversation starters – especially when the cutlery is cast from goat bones.
“There’s cachet in owning an artist-designed vase versus just a vase from Tiffany,” Quinn says. “Everyone wants something that no one else has [and] it adds a little bit of an extra story.”
Gaze and Graze (Financial Times)