When I walked by Heist Gallery up the block from me yesterday, I noticed a thin row of Polaroids lining the walls, and this started a long train of thought. It was a group show entitled “12 Instances,” and interestingly the last exhibition I saw there, Papercut, was an assortment of affordable works on paper. Both exhibitions were put together with an eye to being reasonably-priced. Affordable, small-scale works seem sensible given the big “R” word (Recession) and they suit my budget. Affordable art might just be a case of buying small, but I find it interesting, perhaps telling, that given my enthusiasm for art, I’ve opted for not at all over small.
Here’s the thing: I love art and I’m no Rockerfeller. I’m democratic and think art should be accessible to all. I like the idea of being able to afford art. YET I don’t want to buy the relatively reasonable Polaroid. I just wasn’t that impressed, and I felt the same way with a lot of the lower end works at the Affordable Art Fair. There were some nice enough postcard-size sketches, but I didn’t fall hundreds-of-dollars in love with them. Maybe my eyes are just bigger than my budget.
I’m more impressed with the website 20X200, which offers limited editions of new works each week beginning at $20. They go up through $2,00o dollars, depending on the size of the print. They have an impressive quality and some really nice images, and I’ll likely buy from there in the near future.
I’m even more impressed with my boyfriend, even if his plans for my birthday didn’t quite work out; he wanted to buy a (smaller, more affordable if possible) painting from an artist in Chelsea that I raved about. So he contacted the gallery, saying he was interested in this artist’s work. Nobody ever responded to his message. (Can you not leave a voicemail saying that you are interested in a certain artists work and expect to be called back?) I’m fairly certain said artist is 10 times above our price range anyhow, but I do find it odd that he didn’t hear back.
Buying affordable art seems to involve shrinking it on cheaper mediums. That’s ok, but I’m going to have to do a lot more scouring to find works that I love. As I have blank wall syndrome, I’ve filled my apartment with paintings of my own as a temporary (and not particularly impressive) solution. Suggestions welcome, both for blank wall syndrome and buying art.
To prove it’s not impossible to buy great art on a budget, check out the Vogels below.