“Untitled” by Alex Brewer (Hense) street-artist-turned studioartist, brings in exterior techniques such as spray and industrial paints, reminiscent of the artist’s monolithic works adorning abandoned churches and warehouses.
Setting the scene for the entire space, Cleon Peterson’s monochromatic “Balance of Terror,” acrylic on nine panels used in the set design of 2016’s “Batman v Superman,” makes a theatrical statement in the dining room. Axis, a welded and forged steel sculpture by Michael Malpass, captures the raw honesty of industrial design in its Etruscan-inspired motifs.
When a budding art collector first saw his new apartment in a landmark 1850s Tribeca building in 2015, it didn’t yet exist. “The building, one of New York’s oldest cast-iron structures, was going through a complete renovation, so (the interior) was just a construction site,” notes the owner. “The agency showed me a rendering, and I knew instantly that I had to buy it or it would be gone. I was immediately drawn to the super-high ceilings.” Large windows and a natural greenhouse in the kitchen added to the loft’s appeal. After moving in and spending six months selecting the perfect modern decor and furnishings, the owner turned to Tara Amelchenko and Shannon Bonifas of A+B Art Advisory on a coworker’s recommendation, to help source unique, contemporary artwork that would complete the home’s character.
Boring was not an option for this owner. “Really good art to me is something I can look at a hundred times and still see different components of the pieces each time.”
Focusing on mid-career and established urban street artists, Amelchenko and Bonifas sourced bold, edgy pieces that highlighted the loft’s clean architecture.
“We initially appreciated the space’s vertical strength, so our vision included offering the breadth of peripheral intrigue, as well,” observes Amelchenko.
Immediately arresting is the strikingly graphic monochromatic canvas above the dining room table – Cleon Peterson’s “Balance of Terror,” a dramatic scene depicting the balance of good and evil, featured on the set of the “Batman v Superman” film.
“This initial wall set the tone for the entire space,” notes Amelchenko. On the table itself, a welded and forged steel sculpture, Axis by Michael Malpass, echoes Peterson’s Etruscan references.
Dutch street artist Joram Roukes’ “Top Gun,” oil on canvas, presents a powerful combo of abstraction and figuration.
Street art wheatpaste screen print panels bring color and vitality to the secluded patio.
To define the narrow hallway, a floor-to-ceiling panel, “Finite & Infinite #7” by C. Finley, commissioned especially for the site, bursts in a spectrum of color and form at the end alcove.
“We wanted a chromatically impressive work which would expand the size of the hallway,” comments Amelchenko. “This was the perfect, jaw dropping, aweinspiring solution.”
In the living room, Tim Biskup’s playfully geometric “Right Hand” panel makes a dynamic presence, while the kitchen and patio are punctuated with vibrant wheatpaste, street art screen prints.
“The momentum created with street artists who had moved to the painting studio was our thematic milieu,” remarks Amelchenko. “Placing the panels and sculptures above the loft remind guests that the loft itself is part of the living space.”
Several statement pieces feature prominently in the master bedroom – a larger-than-life mixed media by street-turned-studio-artist Alex Brewer (Hense), which required a tethered pulley system to hoist it up through the building’s second floor window; Dutch painter Joram Roukes’ oil, “Top Gun’’; and James Gortner’s “Long Echoes,”a mixed-media cacophony of oil, hand-sculpting, broken paintings, reclaimed wood and metal.
“It was an exciting and educational process at the same time,” reflects the owner on the collaboration. “I’ve had some fascinating conversations about the symbolism of each piece of art,” the owner adds. “It’s interesting how people can have completely unrelated interpretations of the same piece.”
“As advisors, we refocus our client’s acquisitions away from the purely decorative, and onto recognizing the feeling that one ‘needs’ a particular piece,” Amelchenko notes. “This is what creates lifelong art collectors.”
Who they are: Tara Amelchenko and Shannon Bonifas, independent art advisors at A+B Art Advisory.
What they do: Source artwork for client residences and offices, help establish or add to art collections, and advise on selecting the perfect art pieces to fit every space and personality.
Food for thought: “We believe art should be purchased because of an unexplainable visual, emotional and physical attraction the collector has when confronting that work in person. With so much of our visual culture consumed via mobile devices and computer screens, this intense connection with artwork experienced in the flesh seems to be forgotten as a vital human connection. Great art makes us feel lost for words, even at times insignificant, in its presence.”
Photography Courtesy of Lauren Hagerstrom.
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