Art
15 Gifts for People Who Love Art
If you’re reading this guide, you’ve decided to cut it down to the wire again this year, leaving yourself a quick 24 days to get that special Christmas gift for what seems like every person you’ve ever met. If, like me, you celebrate Hanukkah, but tend to forget when it falls on the lunar calendar, you’ve got even less time—light that menorah this Sunday, December 2nd, promptly at sundown. May I suggest you celebrate with the fantastic, slime-looking Menoramorph designed by for The Jewish Museum?
And while the perfect gift for an art lover may be an artwork itself—I’ve got my sights set on this Pom Pom Catcher and ’s clay stilettos—we’ve collected some affordable alternatives (plus a few extravagances). Below, we hope you’ll find the perfect gift for every art lover in your life, from the casual aesthete to the art-world insider.

Courtesy of Drawn & Quarterly.

Courtesy of Drawn & Quarterly.

“If there is such [a] planet as the Art World, then Matthew Thurber is an intergalactic ranger and Art Comic is the trippy travelogue,” artist said of Thurber’s latest work from Drawn & Quarterly: a blistering take on the art world, rife with cameos from to . Thurber’s absurd narrative takes to task the often farcical nature of a notoriously self-aggrandizing industry.

Courtesy of Massif Central.

Courtesy of Massif Central.

Courtesy of Massif Central.

Courtesy of Massif Central.

Multidisciplinary artist ’s poetic, conceptual works often probe issues of racial and cultural identity, as well as his own personal history. Produced in an edition of 100, his silk scarf collaboration with the Brooklyn-based company Massif Central is printed with a dreamy sequence of stills from his balletic 2011 short film The New Black Yoga, and becomes wonderfully abstracted when worn folded around the neck.

Courtesy of MoMA Design Store.

Courtesy of MoMA Design Store.

You know what’s underrated? Handwritten notes, sent by mail. Hearken back to this pre-digital mode of communication to score an infinite number of brownie points with friends and relatives on the cheap. These priceless –as–Mrs. Claus cards, which are blissfully blank inside, put a contemporary art spin on the tired Hallmark tradition.

Book an Alternative Museum Tour

Prices vary

Photo by Akshay Chauhan. Courtesy of Akshay Chauhan.

Photo by Akshay Chauhan. Courtesy of Akshay Chauhan.

There’s a growing sense that cultural institutions aren’t always accessible to the general public—and there’s been calls for museum wall texts to give more honest insights into the sociopolitical contexts of the works they show. A new crop of guided tours offer alternatives to these mainstream art histories, and promise an unforgettable visit to museums around the world.
Museum Hack hosts a variety of events across the U.S., from a “Badass Bitches” tour at the Getty Center in Los Angeles to “Un-Highlights,” which shines a light on lesser-known works at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. In London, Alice Proctor leads Uncomfortable Art Tours, which explore the ways British colonialism has influenced art. In New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Paris, enjoy the Shady Ladies tour, a review of the “nasty” women in art.

“Honey, I Rearranged the Collection” Playing Cards by Allen Ruppersberg

Price: $18

For more than three decades, the American artist has produced eye-catching slogan posters, a collection of artworks “celebrating the poetry of the everyday.” This brightly colored deck of playing cards features images with texts like “IT’S NOT ART (THAT COUNTS NOW)” and “NO I’VE GOT SOMETHING IN MY EYE,” culled from his ongoing series “The Novel That Writes Itself” (1978–2014).

Photo by Allison Chipak. Courtesy of the Guggenheim Store.

Photo by Allison Chipak. Courtesy of the Guggenheim Store.

At long last, the Swedish mystic artist is being recognized as the progenitor of abstract art. Two new volumes offer readers a revamped look at her transcendent oeuvre. The excellent catalogue Paintings for the Future accompanies a major exhibition of the same name at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, while Notes and Methods collects her personal notebooks, giving unprecedented insight into the artist’s mysterious process.

Courtesy of @vanityprojects.

Courtesy of @vanityprojects.

Courtesy of @vanityprojects.

Courtesy of @vanityprojects.

A mani-pedi might not seem like it belongs on a list of gifts for art-lovers, but hear me out: Vanity Projects, located in New York and Miami, has real art-world bona fides, presenting pop-ups at art fairs, and museums including MoMA PS1. The salon is renowned for elaborate designs inspired by the motifs of , , and , among many others. Any woman in your life will be thrilled to receive a session with the salon’s nail artist–in–residence. You might just end up believing the manicure is the next great creative frontier.

Wales Bonner Silk Evening Sailor Shirt

Price: €625 (about $710)

Courtesy of Wales Bonner.

Courtesy of Wales Bonner.

Courtesy of Wales Bonner.

Courtesy of Wales Bonner.

This luxurious silk shirt from British designer Grace Wales Bonner’s fall 2018 men’s collection is coveted by both sexes. The rapidly rising star in the fashion world made headlines when models walked the runway in sophisticated, sailor-inspired clothing printed with scenes from ’s influential “Migration Series” (1940–41), a poignant chronicle of the mass exodus of African-Americans from the rural South to the industrial North in the 20th century.

Courtesy of Even.

Courtesy of Even.

Support independent art criticism—and the printed word—with the first anthology of Even, founded and edited by veteran New York Times art critic Jason Farago. This volume gathers more than 30 of the magazine’s erudite, socially engaged essays and interviews, which endeavor to bridge “the misunderstood gap between culture and the world.”

I Was Raised on the Internet by Omar Kholeif

Price: $24.95

Accompanying a recent exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA), I Was Raised on the Internet gathers net-savvy artists and writers—from and to and —to sound off on the evolving relationships between art and digital technologies. MCA curator Omar Kholeif edits the opalescent, coffee table–worthy volume.

Courtesy of Big G Creative.

Courtesy of Big G Creative.

In a queer perversion of everything Bob Ross stood for, this new board game pits contestants against the preternaturally calm public access television icon. Win “chill points” by painting “happy little trees” and “almighty mountains”—“chill status” is achieved only if you can finish one of Ross’s paintings before he does.

Louise Bourgeois Gardener’s Apron and Tool Set

Price: $78

“The metaphors in nature are very strong,” once said. “Nature is a mode of communication.” Printed with artworks and textiles by the celebrated French-American artist, the apron, gloves, and tools in this set are genuinely beautiful accoutrements for any green thumb, even one afraid of a Bourgeois spider in the garden.

Courtesy of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

Courtesy of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

Courtesy of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

Courtesy of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

When German sculptor Josef Hartwig set out to design this chess set in 1923, he kept in mind his colleague ’s edict that objects be functional and beautiful in equal measure. Take home his timeless, original design, whose ingenious simplicity is exemplified by the clean, geometric shapes of its pieces: The streamlined crosses, squares, and circles indicate the movements of each figure across the board.

Courtesy of Diagonal Press.

Courtesy of Diagonal Press.

Courtesy of Diagonal Press.

Courtesy of Diagonal Press.

Artist ’s imprint, Diagonal Press, is admired for print projects and ephemera with a cool design sensibility. These rolling papers are the perfect status piece for the artist always found schmoozing with the smokers outside of exhibition openings.

Photo by Lauriane Pigot. Courtesy of Perrotin.

Photo by Lauriane Pigot. Courtesy of Perrotin.

Photo by Lauriane Pigot. Courtesy of Perrotin.

Photo by Lauriane Pigot. Courtesy of Perrotin.

The death of a beloved pet is tough, but for , the loss also presented an opportunity for artistry. The French artist commissioned dozens of artist and musician peers to write songs about her late cat, Souris. This vinyl record, produced in an edition of 900, compiles the memorial efforts by far-ranging figures such as , Jarvis Cocker, , and Pharrell Williams.
Julia Wolkoff is Artsy’s Art History Editor.