The New York Times will publish on the front page of Sunday’s National section a long story detailing the connection between art and real estate that has been brewing in Miami and New York but now seems ready to explode across the firmament. The Times is quick to point out that using art to sell apartments is really nothing new. Here’s the artist and real estate developer, Julian Schnabel on the subject:
“The idea of living with art is a good thing, not necessarily a scam,” [Schnabel said in an interview.] “Obviously, when something is popular they can turn that into something trendy, but it has a historical precedent.”
The story is a wealth of examples. Here are just a few:
In Miami, for example, the developer of a beachfront condominium on Collins Avenue has commissioned a sculptor, whose pieces have sold for more than $500,000, to create original works for every buyer in the building. Another Miami developer has hired the painter and Academy Award-nominated director Julian Schnabel to design a sales center for its condominium, with rose-colored stucco and sawtooth lamps. In Midtown Manhattan, a developer is making a pointed effort to stand out by placing a permanent 40-story LED light installation on the building’s facade, while others have taken to hiring art consultants just as they would architects and construction companies. […]
“Those who invest in high-end luxury homes also tend to have a strong knowledge of art,” said Helidon Xhixha, an Albanian-born artist who has shown his work at Art Basel Miami Beach, and who recently sold a piece titled “The Wall” to a private art collector for more than $540,000. The developers Property Markets Group and S2 Development hired Mr. Xhixha to create sculptures tailored to each buyer at Muse, a 68-unit condominium in the Sunny Isles neighborhood of Miami.
While some may consider it selling out for artists to create pieces as part of a condominium marketing effort, Mr. Xhixha said, “I do not see this as over-commercializing my art. On the contrary, I see a collaboration between buyer and artist.” Mr. Xhixha added that an apartment tower filled with his pieces “will be like having my very own private museum.”
For the Chetrit Group and Clipper Equity, the developers converting the former Flatotel at 135 West 52nd Street into 109 condo units, “we wanted to create something that gave the building an identity, that gave us some notoriety,” said Raphael De Niro, a broker at Douglas Elliman Development Marketing, who is representing the building. “People like to be able to talk about their building and have others know it, for people to feel they live somewhere unique.” The developers hired Thierry Dreyfus, the lighting designer who lit up the Grand Palais in Paris and the Château de Versailles, to create the 423-foot installation that will be placed inside a casing attached to the front of the building.
Using Artists to Sell Condos in Miami and New York (NYTimes.com)