How to Upgrade Your Gallery Wall
The gallery wall has always been a classic way to curate your home like a personal museum. It seems to fall in and out of fashion now and then, but peruse photographs of the world’s most elevated homes and chances are you’ll spot a salon-style arrangement of art gracing the walls. Aside from the fact that they showcase a multitude of works at once, gallery wall compositions also allow for a special marriage of messages, symbols and stories to emerge. What unique narrative can you weave by placing a figurative portrait next to an abstract form, or by coupling a desert landscape photograph with a minimalist print? And how do you know where to start? Read on as two of our art and home experts share their tips for making a gallery wall feel fresh with the rare, coveted art they’re loving now.
Find A Bold New Balance
Clockwise from upper left: Untitled (Cabeza) by Jean-Michel Basquiat; Composition by Shu Takahashi; Tennis by John Vassos.
When it comes to gallery walls, Home & Art Specialist Alexandra Picerne loves a bold statement. “Choose one work to be your focal point, and this will help you build the rest of your gallery wall,” explains Picerne. Untitled (Cabeza) by Jean-Michel Basquiat is undeniably an eye-catching foundational piece. “Basquiat was one of the most prolific and iconic artists of the 20th century, and is highly sought-after by both new and seasoned collectors,” says Picerne. “This piece is a perfect example of his signature style and his fascination with anatomy. Many of Basquiat’s compositions focus on expressing a figure with an emphasis on the skull.”
Untitled (Cabeza) is not entirely centered here, yet still commands the eye upwards. Picerne encourages collectors to experiment with not only a focal piece, but with different types of art as well. “Don’t be afraid to incorporate different mediums and colors,” she advises. “Use your intuition and choose art that really speaks to you. That common thread will inherently tie the pieces together. And it’s always fun to combine two art pieces you wouldn’t necessarily find side by side.”
Cue Shu Takahashi’s Composition, Picerne’s second pick for a bold gallery wall. “Japanese artist Shu Takahashi is the co-founder of Japan’s ‘Nouveau Art Group,’” says Picerne. “His minimalist works have been celebrated globally in a number of solo and group exhibitions. The vibrancy of the orange and pink stripes juxtaposes the stark black of the colliding shape. There’s an interesting tension there.”
Tennis by John Vassos is the finishing touch to Picerne’s trifecta. “John Vassos’ industrial designs left an indelible mark on the world of broadcasting, specifically radio and television, but he was also known for his illustrations,” notes Picerne. “The influence of the Art Deco movement is apparent in Tennis, which features abstract figures playing the sport. The shapes and colors also help to convey the depth of field, an impressive feat in a work using a limited color palette and linear perspective.”
Worried about finding the perfect balance for equally bold works? Fear not. “Map out the layout on the floor first before hanging,” advises Picerne. “Having a concrete plan will make it easier to hang your works where you want them. You’ll also be able to know how much space you’d like to keep between each frame. Though horizontal layouts are usually the norm for gallery walls, there’s something exciting about playing with height and taking an unconventional approach to your arrangement.”
Go For An Ethereal Upgrade
Clockwise from upper left: Untitled by Hannah Polskin; Ikebana 3 by Alyson Fox; How Did We Ever Live Without It? by Dustin Yellin; Monument Valley by Marcus Doyle; White Tear by Shu Takahashi