COLLECTING
Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
Shoe by NoritakaTatehana

Contrary to other accessories, such as hats or bags, women’s shoes exhibit a great degree of mechanical malfunction. This stems from the shoes’ impossible structures, contorted shapes, and dizzying heights, all of which render them unfit for everyday use. That’s not necessarily bad. Certain models of luxury watches are known for unprecise time keeping. Luxury […]

Bulgari, Serpent Tuboga, 1975. Courtesy of Bulgari.

The problem with good art is that it makes bad art look worse. Good design makes bad design implode by lack of ideas. Great execution brings out the clumsiness in everything else. Contemporary Bulgari designs pale by comparison to their early slithering predecessors. The latter are part of a small-scale curated exhibit at Bulgari’s flagship […]

Daniel Brush. Bowl with golden butterflies. © Thomaï Serdari.

Luxury is the opposite of anarchy. If anarchy defies organization, luxury welcomes it. If anarchy rejects stratification, luxury aspires to it. Anarchy objects to commitment, luxury stems from it. And while absence of luxury does not lead to anarchy, anarchy is prohibitive to luxury. In an art system that is highly organized and somewhat predictable, […]

Fornasetti enamelled brown glass, 1937. Courtesy of Alexandre Biaggi.

Call it name-dropping, call it trend-setting, brand-cladding is an art for urbane New Yorkers. These global nomads, whether local or international, are well versed in the language of brands. They show a flare for branded apparel, define their lifestyle according to branded neighborhoods, and consume branded art by means of branded funds and trust accounts.  […]

Verdura cross. Courtesy of Verdura.

Most of our experiences today have become weightless. Think of a grocery list compiled by your electronic refrigerator and delivered to you. Or think of how cleverly your smart phone’s GPS allows your limousine driver to come pick you up from exactly where you stand at a click of a phone button. Don’t even think […]

Sculpture. Courtesy of Antony Gormley.

Antony Gormley, a British artist whose work is currently on view at the new Sean Kelly Gallery on Tenth Avenue, creates through contradictions. He usually juxtaposes the monumental to the intimate, the complete to the fragmentary, the massive to the mobile. Gormley’ s production, which spans a career of about 40 years, is centered in […]

Cameos from Catherine the Great collection.

  Even the mundane appears fascinating in large numbers. Think of collections of candy wrappers, coca cola bottles, or ticket stubs. Awe-inspiring and overwhelming, large collections speak of power. When the exotic or artistic is substituted for the mundane, the power of the collection increases exponentially. This Catherine the Great knew well. An avid reader […]

Glashutte Original movement. Courtesy of Glashutte.

Systematic collecting of art and decorative objects seems quite old-fashioned today, especially when juxtaposed to our inherently spatially-challenged urban existence. Add to that the transitory character of our relationship to countries, cities, or even neighborhoods—all deriving from ambitious travel schedules and constant relocating imposed by work demands—and it appears that building a collection befits only […]

Parviz Tanavoli. Heech in a Cage. ca. 1970. Courtesy of the Grey Art Gallery.

A heavy bronze sculpture rested on my windowsill, perched over Washington Square Park for about ten years. “Heech in a Cage” by Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli (b. 1937) was on loan to NYU’ s Department of Art History from the Grey Art Gallery, two academic departments that benefited from Abby Weed Grey’s generosity and artistic […]