Gifts

The Best Gifts Art-World Insiders Have Ever Received, From a Mapplethorpe Photo to Dinner Plates by Laboratorio Paravicini


Welcome to The 12 Days of Artmas, our new, non-denominational holiday extravaganza—an advent calendar with gift ideas and stories for art lovers of all stripes, dropping daily through December 24.

 

Earlier this weekend, we put together a round-up of the best presents art-world insiders have ever given.

Today, we turn the tables and ask them about the best gifts they’ve ever received.

 

Bernard Lumpkin, collector

Visitors to “Young, Gifted, and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art,” which accompanied the publication of a catalogue. Image courtesy Bernard Lumpkin.

The best gift I’ve received is seeing “Young, Gifted, and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art,” (which inspired the book) hit the road again after a pandemic hiatus. The exhibition was most recently on view at Gallery 400 on the campus of the University of Illinois in Chicago, where students, faculty, and artists from the community were able to experience the show in person.

When I traveled to Chicago myself, and observed visitors at the show, I had the pleasure of seeing first-hand how art literally makes us stop and think about ourselves, others, and the world around us. The next stop on the tour is Lehigh University Art Gallery in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, opening February 1, followed by the Manetti Shrem Museum at the University of California, Davis next summer. So this nationwide traveling exhibition is definitely a gift which will keep on giving!

 

Neil Hamamoto, artist

v

The Miyabi Birchwood SG2 6 Piece Magnetic Easel Knife Set given to Neil Hamamoto.

My grandfather gifted me his old set of Japanese chef knives a few years back, and I don’t think any gift will ever top it. It’s a highly personal gift with tons of real-world utility, so it’s the sort of gift that continues to bring me joy and reminds me of my fondest memories with my grandfather every time I cook.

 

Alia Al-Senussi, collector

Robert Mapplethorpe’s photo of Lisa Lyon. Courtesy Alia Al-Senussi.

I was given an incredible photograph of Lisa Lyon taken by Robert Mapplethorpe. How could that not be the best gift ever? This came at a time when I was deeply upset by the 2016 election and all that I saw happening in America, and [the attack on a] world that I thought we were moving towards, a more open, progressive, cosmopolitan humanity. Every day when I look at the magnificent Lisa Lyon it makes me stronger too.

 

Claire Sherman, artist

Claire Sherman table

Claire Sherman’s palette table. Photo courtesy Claire Sherman.

My husband, Jonathon Cancro, is a wonderful artist who works with video in his own practice. He’s also a great problem solver and fabricator. He made this palette table for me 10 years ago when we moved to New York, and it is perfect. There is a place for everything.

 

Natacha Polaert, gallerist

Claude Rutault’s définition/méthode : peinture-suicide n°.

The best gift I ever received was from Claude Rutault, one of the most important French artists of his generation and a pioneer of Conceptualism. He presented it to me at Café de Flore in Paris, circa 2017. The gift was an artwork titled définition/méthode : peinture-suicide n°. It’s a very special and intimate work in the artist’s oeuvre. It came in a form of a handwritten text, what Rutault calls a “protocol.”

peinture-suicide n° is intended to live very near to the collector, known as the “charge-taker,” throughout his or her life. In my case, it is in my bedroom. According to its specifications, it is to follow me to my successive places of residence, even temporary homes during summer vacation. It changes colors as many times as the wall is repainted. Claude refers to it as a “peinture d’accompagnement, intime”—an intimate painting that accompanies.

Remarkably, it includes no provision for bequeathal after my death and no possibility of changing hands through sale. In other words, this is a work that will accompany me to the afterlife. It is a very beautiful and profound gift—unsettling, sure, but incredibly powerful because it carries all from within.

 

Marcello Kwan, auctioneer

Marcello Kwan’s son with the cutout. Photo courtesy Marcello Kwan.

This is the best gift I have ever received. It is a life-size image board of my first son, Jace, when he celebrated his first birthday. My ex-colleagues worked with the designer who made our auction catalogue. They all signed the back with very sweet messages. I still keep it and Jace is now 8.

 

Vicky Chen, gallerist

Tony Oursler draw a New Year spring couplets.

Tony Oursler’s drawing. Image courtesy Vicky Chen.

Tony Oursler drew Chinese New Year spring couplets and gifted them to me when he visited Taipei earlier this year. I framed them so I’ll always remember the good times we had together writing the couplets together.

 

Lawrence Van Hagen, advisor

lawrence van hagan emin

Tracey Emin’s note for Lawrence Van Hagen. Courtesy Lawrence Van Hagen.

I recently received a gift that I really appreciated: a Tracey Emin signed note that my partner got me. A couple of months ago, Tracey had a small exhibition with my friends Laura de Gunzburg and Gabriel Chipperfield at Shreeji Newsagent. Tracey designed some postcards for Shreeji to complement her show. My partner went to grab a coffee in the morning and Tracey was there and he got her to write a note for me and sign one of the postcards. It was a very spontaneous idea he had right on the spot and I definitely wasn’t expecting it. I luckily have a beautiful work by Tracey Emin already, but this one is way more special, as the text she wrote was directed towards us.

 

Dan Palmer, curator

The Instant Pot sent to Dan Palmer by N. Dash.

I’ve been so grateful to all of the artists who have given me artworks and other generous presents over the years, but I think the most unique and thoughtful gift I’ve ever received was an Instant Pot from my friend, brilliant artist, and healthy human N. Dash. It just showed up one day out of the blue and now I use it all the time. It has pretty much revolutionized my life. Plus, the company is also based out of Ottawa. Who knew!

 

Alia Williams, dealer

Laboratorio Paravicini Zodiac dinner plates.

Recently, as a wedding gift, we received these wonderful Laboratorio Paravicini Zodiac dinner plates that I can’t get enough of.

 

Previous stories in this series:

The Best Gifts Art-World Insiders Have Ever Given, From an Old Master Painting to a Zanzibarian Key

Who Couldn’t Use Gift Guidance From the Cosmos? We’ve Consulted 5 Experts in Art and Astrology

If You’re Looking for a Fragrance to Gift, We’d Suggest a Bottle of Chanel No. 5—an Icon and Artists’ Muse Celebrating its 100th Anniversary

Still Shopping for the Art and Fashion Lovers in Your Life? Check Out This Chic Museum Merch (Think The Met x Brother Vellies)

For Travelers, Consider Virgil Abloh-Designed Luggage That Reimagines Louis Vuitton’s Legacy

On the First Day of Artmas, My True Love Gave to Me… a Step-by-Step Guide for Gifting an NFT

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

The Best Gifts Art-World Insiders Have Ever Given, From an Old Master Painting to a Zanzibarian Key


Welcome to The 12 Days of Artmas, our new, non-denominational holiday extravaganza—an advent calendar with gift ideas and stories for art lovers of all stripes, dropping daily through December 24.

 

To inspire your search for the perfect present, we asked folks around the art world what inspired gifts they are most proud of having given. Here’s what they told us.

 

Bernard Lumpkin, collector

Young, Gifted, and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art

The best gift I’ve been grateful to share with the art world and beyond is the book Young, Gifted, and Black: A New Generation of Artists, edited by my friend and collaborator, Antwaun Sargent, and published by DAP. Now in its third printing, the book celebrates artists, curators, and critics who are reshaping the way we think about race and representation. They’ve taught me so much, and I’m paying it forward by sharing their voices and visions with others.

 

Neil Hamamoto, artist

FREE FILM BOOK SET, published by Worthless Studios.

The Free Film book set, published by Worthless Studios.

As creative director of the Brooklyn-based not-for-profit Worthless Studios, I edited two black-and-white photography books this past year: Free Film: June 2020 and Free Film USA. The books were published in 2021, and it has been a fantastic gift to give. Each book shares images from analogue photographers from all over the globe on pressing issues that I believe are beneficial when seen from multiple perspectives.

 

Alia Al-Senussi, collector

Alia Al-Senussi in Marfa.

Alia Al-Senussi in Marfa. Courtesy Alia Al-Senussi.

I love sharing experiences, so I suppose it sounds selfish, but the best gift I have ever given to someone else has also been for myself. I have taken my friends to Marfa, the Roden Crater, the Lightning Field, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Korea—and each time, it’s been a bespoke itinerary filled with all sorts of local touch points and eccentricities. And in fact, those itineraries are then forwarded and passed on far and wide, so perhaps they are the best gift?

Taking my mother back to Egypt after leaving 30 years earlier was insanely special, as was being able to take her to Siwa, where I started my life in the arts, and is just a stone’s throw from Libya (where I also took her for the first time). In fact, visiting Libya with my mother helped me to see past the facade of sadness and really embrace a sense of wonder and hope of a people that had been brutalized for far too long.

 

Claire Sherman, artist

Claire Sherman photo

A photo by Cortis Harvey Galbraith. Courtesy Claire Sherman.

I have spent time recently trying to create a digital archive for my family. My great grandfather, Cortis Harvey Galbraith, was a photographer in Minneapolis. He traveled throughout Minnesota taking photographs for families between 1890 and 1940, and some photos in the archive are from glass plates that I’ve scanned from his collection. My favorites are the pictures he took of his own family and places that he loved in Northern Minnesota, where our family still convenes every summer.

 

Natacha Polaert, gallerist

Claude Rutault, Niele Toroni, and Natacha Polaert at Hôtel Grand Amour in 2017.

The best gift I’ve ever given are kisses to my beloved.

 

Vicky Chen, gallerist

Vicky in Miami

Vicky Chen in Miami. Courtesy Vicky Chen.

A gift to myself: a few years ago, I spontaneously hopped on a plane to New York on my birthday just to catch the last day of one of my favorite artist’s solo shows, and I flew to Miami right after to enjoy the sunshine and Art Basel.

 

Lawrence Van Hagen, advisor

lawrence van hagan hat

The suede cap. Courtesy Lawrence Van Hagen.

Last Christmas, I gifted my top clients a suede cap that the artist Stefan Brüggemann and I designed specifically as a Christmas gift. Stefan is known for his text paintings, which are all written in arial black font. During the pandemic, Stefan began using the slogan “ONLINE DISCONNECTED” in his paintings, and the phrase soon became an iconic emblem as the world navigated from one lockdown to the next, and many of us could only stay connected with our loved ones online. I thought that the parody was genius, and I asked Stefan if we could design something together with the phrase on it. He loved the idea and we came up with the coolest suede cap, which had the slogan written on the front in his signature style. My friends and clients loved it so much. I still often bump into them on the street and find them wearing it.

 

Fabrizio Moretti, dealer

Candido, <i>The Annunciation</i> (ca. 1585).

Pietro Candido, The Annunciation (ca. 1585).

The Annunciation, a painting by Pieter de Witte, better known as Pietro Candido, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in honor of Keith Christiansen.

 

Dan Palmer, curator

dan palmer key

The key Palmer gave Erizku. Courtesy Dan Palmer.

I gave Awol Erizku an early 19th-century forged iron key from Zanzibar on the occasion of our exhibition together, “New Visions for Iris.” I scoured the city with my wife and asked our favorite antique dealer to find exactly the right one. The gift has deeply personal meanings for me and Awol, which I hoped would articulate my gratitude for our dialogue, and serve as a special token of our collaboration and friendship.

 

Alia Williams, dealer

black futures

 

A good art book, like Unrealism or Black Futures, always hits the right note. I also love giving a beautiful bouquet of flowers for any occasion.

 

Previous stories in this series:

Who Couldn’t Use Gift Guidance From the Cosmos? We’ve Consulted 5 Experts in Art and Astrology

If You’re Looking for a Fragrance to Gift, We’d Suggest a Bottle of Chanel No. 5—an Icon and Artists’ Muse Celebrating its 100th Anniversary

Still Shopping for the Art and Fashion Lovers in Your Life? Check Out This Chic Museum Merch (Think The Met x Brother Vellies)

For Travelers, Consider Virgil Abloh-Designed Luggage That Reimagines Louis Vuitton’s Legacy

On the First Day of Artmas, My True Love Gave to Me… a Step-by-Step Guide for Gifting an NFT

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook: