At the exhibition Visible Traces (Mountain Water Air) that artist Pat Steir curated at Levy Gorvy Gallery last summer, we viewed works the artist has said she “hums to” in her mind. When we looked closely, we saw that Ugo Rondonone’s massive, unframed erstermaizweitausendundzwölf was nailed directly onto the wall, which intensified the feeling of immediacy we felt viewing it. It was more…intimate.
The painting so exposed to light, air, nails! seemed more ephemeral and because of that, very alive.
We realized that the formality of a frame on art adds a filter that often keeps us one step removed. It got us thinking about enjoyable unframed art can be.
In the living room of Julian Schnabel’s Palazzo Chupi, the unframed work amidst framed have a naked quality.
…As does On Kawara’s Date Painting in Candida Hofer’s photograph (and the slat paintings of unknown origin).
…We were stunned by Tony Feher’s Blue Tape Painting created right on a window of an New York City apartment we once visited. Knowing that it would eventually change from exposure to air made it all the more beautiful.
When we asked artist Holton Rower how to hang his paint-and-gold-leaf work on paper, he said “Don’t frame it,” and showed us how to hang it with clips taped to the wall. “It’s made of good materials; it will be fine” he assured us, though all things age. We enjoy it immensely and can’t imaging viewing through glass. It has hung in the same place for almost a decade, unchanged to our eye, an enduring pleasure…
Art collector and mid-century furniture dealer Demetrio Zanetti is a big fan of this. He uses vintage metal clips as his art hanging system. We wrote about it here.
Now, when we acquire an artwork, we often place it carefully somewhere we can enjoy it “naked” for a while. Until we feel it needs the protection of glass or frame.
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