What do you do with works of art that you like?
December 14, 2005 2:39 PM   Subscribe

What do you do with works of art that you like? When you go a museum or take an art history course and you find some paintings and things that are particularly good/touching/etc, do you buy posters? Get an artist online to paint a reproduction? Just think about them from time to time?

I've just finished a Russian art history course, and become particularly attached to the works of Mikhael Vrubel. Now what? This happened once before in a general art history course, where I got attached to a certain obscure painting by Caspar David Friedrich. What do you do when you really like a certain painting that would cost millions to own and wouldn't even match your decor if you got it?
posted by sdis to Media & Arts (28 answers total)
I try to buy a postcard as a memory-jogger, but don't find posters like enough to the original to be worth getting (which obviates decor-clash.)
posted by anadem at 2:43 PM on December 14, 2005

What I do so far, which is largely unsatisfying, is purchase the postcard-size print of the piece in question, and store them in a photo album. It would be fine, except I tend to like more obscure works and find that often, they're not printed as a postcard.
posted by ferociouskitty at 2:43 PM on December 14, 2005

I keep a digital archive of works that I find inspiring.
posted by xyzzy at 2:54 PM on December 14, 2005

Posters are nice, provided you can find good-quality prints. Even the ones for sale in museum shops can be dodgy. I have a wonderful print of Duchamp's chocolate grinder in my kitchen. Very appropriate, I think.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:55 PM on December 14, 2005

I'm with xyzzy, I keep digital copies. I'm not much on posters of them.

I also bought a book at a gallery opening once for Paterson Ewen as I was very taken with his work.

For local artists, I offer to design web sites for them in exchange for paintings. I've gotten some amazing paintings this way--ones I certainly couldn't afford otherwise.
posted by dobbs at 3:00 PM on December 14, 2005

Like xyzzy I keep a digital archive of paintings that I love. I like to have them on a slideshow when I relax rather than just have a television play in the corner. But other than that I just dip in now and again for research or pleasure.

For some movements/artists I will buy the book, sit and look through them from time to time.

I have never liked posters. I do like putting postcards on the wall though.

I paint myself, but have only ever copied another artist for educational purposes, not to hang up - it's too fake.

In rare cases I will buy either an etching/lithograph of the artists work, or an original. This is usually more of an emotional purchase rather than a) getting the actual work I like (budget would never stretch to any major works by most artists) b) decorating my room with nice pictures that match the colour scheme. I have a little collection of drawings and prints and a few paintings by artists I love. I don't own any of the works which initially drew me to these people, but I have a little original piece of their output, which is enough.
posted by fire&wings at 3:06 PM on December 14, 2005

Response by poster: Do you guys get digital copies from wherever you can find them online, or take digital photos?
posted by sdis at 3:18 PM on December 14, 2005

I've done both. I've also scanned books.
posted by dobbs at 3:19 PM on December 14, 2005

Yeah I have photos taken in museums, scans, and stuff I have collected online. I have never been able to see art in person by some of the artists I love..so the internet is kinda invaluable. I save images from the websites of major auction houses mainly...it's where the best stuff turns up - works that have been in private collections for a while, fresh to the market, and not published widely online or in books. Books, sometimes even catalogue raisonnes, offer surprisngly limited views of certain artists. But it really depends on whether you like them so much you want to try and see everything they've done, or you're more....casual. :)
posted by fire&wings at 3:26 PM on December 14, 2005

If I really dig an exhibition I'll get the program. Otherwise I just kinda remember my favorite art every once in a while. For me the postcards and posters and digital images really cannot recreate a lot of what is cool about the art that I like (the musuem space, the scale, the material interaction with it all). Mostly I just try to use art that I like as a pathway to other art that I like. Sure, I may not be able to make it back to London to see something in the Tate collection that I loved, but I may find that a local gallery is showing works by an artist who specifically lists my favored artist as an inspiration. I'll remember what I liked and get to see how it plays with this new stuff - and maybe find a new favorite.
posted by jmgorman at 3:27 PM on December 14, 2005

He doesn't have every artist or every movement, but Mark Harden's Artchive has a lot of high quality art images. I download from there all the time. You can also get the contents of the site on CD-ROM for $50. I also recommend Carol Gerten Fine Art.
posted by annaramma at 3:30 PM on December 14, 2005

For something flat, I doubt I'd do anything, but maybe I just haven't felt that strongly about a piece yet. I would definitely want to take my own photos if it's a piece of sculpture or something 3d though.
posted by juv3nal at 3:45 PM on December 14, 2005

I stick to physical stuff – posters (small ones which I store for reference, really), postcards, books. Sometimes the odd t-shirt. (Though there's a pretty narrow intersection between "good paintings" and "paintings that look good on t-shirts.") Something about the computer screen cheapens images for me.
posted by furiousthought at 3:57 PM on December 14, 2005

I usually take good digital photos and keep them on my desktop as rotating desktop images. I have a few different folders of images, some of which are art, some of which are pictures I've taken eetc. Then I set up the desktop image to change frequently [every 5-10 minutes] I find that having the images change and juxtapose themselves randomly makes me see things in them that I mnight not see otherwise. It's also cool when someone looks at your computer and says "hey what's that?" and you can say "oh it's a picture I took/artist I like...."
posted by jessamyn at 4:08 PM on December 14, 2005

What do you do when you really like a certain painting that would cost millions to own and wouldn't even match your decor if you got it?
Absent the second part: I buy a print and have it framed by a wonderful, exceptionally talented studio. With the right frame and the right matting, a print clipped from a calendar can look perfectly appropriate in a million-dollar home.
posted by cribcage at 4:12 PM on December 14, 2005

It's never occurred to me to keep copies of art I love. I think about the pieces sometimes and picture them in my head, but I don't look at images of them. I do love going to libraries and browsing through art books and I'll pore over pages that contain my favorite art.

If I see something everyday or even once every few days, I become immune to it. The same thing happens with songs. Perhaps I'm trying to prevent this inevitable dulling of wonder by never having the images around in the first place, except for in my head.
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 4:36 PM on December 14, 2005

I buy art books. Lots of them. A good place to get cheap ones is Daedalus Books. (I have no affiliation, I just buy from 'em from time to time)
posted by atom128 at 4:46 PM on December 14, 2005

My favourite piece of art is probably this, and I took photos at different stages of lighting and taped the music when I saw it at the exhibit. Probably illegal, at least the sound recording part of it. I would have bought a poster if they had it. I sometimes visit the link online (be sure to watch the video!)
I have some art posters, but not necessarily of my favourite works, more what goes with the rest of the room.
posted by easternblot at 5:24 PM on December 14, 2005

jessamyn, how do you do that? I just Googled and found a couple of programs, but none look super-reputable. Do you have a recommendation?
posted by booksandlibretti at 5:27 PM on December 14, 2005

I just tend to let the new aesthetic experience absorb into my being and influence my future thoughts and decisions.

either that or I get the book.
posted by garethspor at 5:46 PM on December 14, 2005

I go back to visit them from time to time.

If that's too difficult, take a careful mental picture and remember it always.
posted by Miko at 5:49 PM on December 14, 2005

I use a Mac, so it's as simple as making a folder, filling it with pictures, and setting it in your system preferences. I think you can use something like this for a PC, or Microsoft makes the Power Toys Fun Pack which also seems like it has this functionality.
posted by jessamyn at 5:54 PM on December 14, 2005

Ah, the second one sounds perfect. All the ones I saw when I Googled were distinctly dubious shareware. This is genius, jessamyn.

Now I know what I'm doing with my favorite art from now on! Before I used to buy a postcard or two, one for displaying and one for safekeeping.
posted by booksandlibretti at 6:12 PM on December 14, 2005

For a few, I either take a photo, or find a very good photo.

Usually I'm happy just to think about them, and maybe plan a visit to the museum that houses them.
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:26 PM on December 14, 2005

I go online, find an image of it on the web, and save it into the appropriate place of a tree of topic-organised folders I use to accumulate "useful images". Then, if I'm later working on something, or want some inspiration, or want to see how someone did something, or just get some ideas, I browse whatever folder is most relevant, and the accumulated images of the last ten years is often quite helpful.

Same goes for comic strips, circuit diagrams, anything. It's a library of stuff that is useful to me.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:10 PM on December 14, 2005

If I can, I get a poster of the piece I like. If I can't, I take a mental photo (I can't bring myself to take a real photo in a museum) and remember it later.

Good art won't match your sofa.
posted by emmling at 6:27 AM on December 15, 2005

I also store them digitally, and use them as a screensaver. Sometimes I put a postcard up in my cube at work or near my bed at home. But for high art, it definitely doesn't replace the memory of the first time I stumbled on to it in a museum.
posted by lampoil at 7:44 AM on December 15, 2005

Buy a monograph. Usually these are nice quality, limited edition, and contain essays about the work. You can sit down with it and look through it.

I hate hate hate hate prints. Especially framed prints. That money would be far better spent supporting one of your local artists, who probably also has something you'd like.

That said, if I have a favorite piece, I'll try to visit it every once in awhile (if possible). I've not really had any favorite pieces that I haven't seen in person, because, well, with most works, if you haven't seen it in person, you haven't really seen it.

I actually find the buying a print thing hugely interesting, however -- particularly since I've always had issues with authenticity ever since I was a small child: I had gotten into "collecting" baseball cards, not because I really liked statistics or baseball, but because the other kids did it and I had heard they were worth money (hahahaha ahahahahaa). Anyhow, I bought a "vintage card kit" that had a bunch of replica cards that had to be torn out of large preforated sheets. I thought i was rich. You can imagine my disappointment when i found out they were "fake". Not "fake", of course, per se, but you know, not authentic. "Valueless". That said, now that I think about it, I'd love to have that set of cards again. EBAY HERE I COME*.

* and the cycle continues.
posted by fishfucker at 11:07 AM on December 15, 2005

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