Los Angeles-based John Wolf is a well-respected art advisor and private broker that has an instinctual knack for curating collections of contemporary art for collectors and interior designers alike. His firm walks clients through the process and educates them about all aspects of the art world, with the end goal being to match the right piece with the right person. In this week’s Friday Five, Wolf selects places, spaces, and things that have been influenced by art.
1. Rose Tarlow Melrose House
For over 30 years, Rose Tarlow Melrose House has been a statement of timeless, classic design with a hint of eccentricity and uncompromising quality – embodying what generations of craftsmen and artisans represent with their skill and dedication to beauty and function. Rose has recently stepped out of retirement and come back at the Helm as CEO to lead the company into further greatness.
Her showroom has recently been lauded by the design community for having a stellar art program. Stephen Levine, Rose’s lead designer curates a phenomenal collection of Los Angeles artists. With his art vision comes a fresh, new vibe to their classic aesthetic. Interior designers and end customers from around the globe flock to Melrose to specify works for their home.
Located in South Palm Springs, Sparrows Lodge is a completely restored 1950s retreat slash boutique hotel. You will be welcomed roadside with a simple hand-painted sign with two Sparrows, no verbiage at all! Talk about discrete privacy… The Lodge has a modern rustic vibe that carries through to the rooms, communal barn, outdoor fire pit and vegetable garden. The 20 rooms all have individually curated art programs, with a sensibility to the Southern California artists and Manhattan art-stars… The rooms have exposed beam ceilings, russet red walls, concrete floors with inlaid pebbles and butterfly chairs. Swiss army blankets top plush mattresses, and instead of closets you’ll find a metal footlocker along with hooks and hangers. The bathrooms feature rain showers, designer toiletries and many include horse troughs as bathtubs. With no televisions or phones in the rooms, there is an environment of ease and simplicity. The Lodge’s barn serves a simple breakfast included in your room rate. There’s an incredible traveler vibe that encourages meeting new friends from around the world. It’s exactly what Palm Springs needed! And the art rocks. And so does the shirtless eye-candy.
Step into 7350 Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles and you are thrust into a candy shop of curiosity, inspiration and artistic delight.
Interior designer Gary Gibson believes “the art of design is the balance of texture, scale, color, and light.” In classic Gibson style Gary challenged himself by opening GIBSON his design studio and atelier. Since 2003, Gibson has inspired the world with his expertly curated vintage pieces, furniture, artwork, and accessories. Shoppers from around the globe find truly unique gems that breathe the essence of the eclectic Los Angeles culture. Myriad celebrity designers, television and film set designers, and collectors come to Gibson to source art and objects for their respective spaces. I can forget the stress of the world in this space as my mind is literally entranced by the curiosities. I like candy.
4. Stainless Steel
With constant advances in technology come new materials and processes in artists’ work. The mirror polishing of stainless steel has become easier for artists to achieve, creating a plethora of phenomenal works that make my head explode. I’m especially in love with mirror polished stainless steel sculpture in an outdoor setting. Juxtaposing a very contemporary hard-edge and futuristic sculpture in natural beauty would not be many first choices for curating a garden or public space… however, the beauty of mirror-polished stainless steel is that it reflects everything around it. The landscape reflects back at itself highlighting and glorifying the natural setting. Growing up in bucolic Michigan, I have an affinity for green, and the more it can be reflected back on itself the better. Anish Kapoor is the blue chip master of this medium, but many emerging up-starts are following suit at a much affordable budget. Go steel go.
5. Amir Nikravan
A few nights ago I was fortunate enough to sit next to this emerged art-star at the post Mernet Larsen opening dinner at Ammo in Hollywood hosted by uber power-dealer and vixen, Esther Kim Veret of Various Small Fires. Amir is an unassuming young’un who wears an effervescent smile and gallivants through conversation with the ease and poise of a Pasadena politico. His art makes my brain question why it has ever been angry, hungry or lonely. The beautiful simplicity and uncanny depth and dimension of his paintings makes even the novice collector exclaim, “Oh that’s some good shit.” Perhaps that’s why his shows sell out opening night, or before they even make it to the show. Through adept strategery (it’s a word) I was able to acquire number 86 for a client in Calabasas 24 hours after they went from studio to gallery to shipping facility on their way to the Armory show in New York. We have yet to see the painting in person, and none of them have been seen in person, and they are all spoken for. When an artist sells out via jpg alone, you know its good, and you better have a savvy advisor on hand (yours truly) to get you access to a piece.
Nikravan’s process involves laying fabric over a built-up (via paint, gesso, concrete, gravel) surface, vacuum-packing it, spraying it and then stretching the fabric over a slim panel of aluminum. The LA Times references Tauba Auerbach in their stellar review and praises the work for “occupy[ing] the preternaturally calm eye of a cerebral storm. They spur a heady buzz of questions, yet are rather quiet, visually. They exist for the sake of contradiction and complication.” Translation: He’s BadAss.