4 Foolproof Holiday Gift Ideas, as Recommended by Leading Art-World Insiders

We spoke to artists, curators, and dealers about the art-inspired gifts that should be on your shopping list this year.

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Vase), 2020. Photo: Alistair Matthews

2020 may have been defined by unexpected twists and turns, but one thing that remains consistent with years past is the struggle to find the perfect holiday gift. And while original artwork may come at a premium, there are ample (and more affordable) art-inspired gift ideas that provide great alternatives, and are guaranteed to please the loved ones in your life. 

Just in time for the holidays, we asked four of the art world’s leading voices to lend their expertise on picking a foolproof gift. Find them all, below. 



Andre D. Wagner

Andre D. Wagner. Photo courtesy Andrew Ryan Shepeard

Andre D. Wagner. Photo courtesy Andrew Ryan Shepeard

Who He Is: Photographer

The Gift: A set of postcards from the New York-based nonprofit worthless studios

Over the summer I connected with Neil Hamamoto, the founder and creative director of the organizationwhen he was launching “FREE FILM : JUNE 2020,” a project distributing hundreds of free rolls of film to photographers responding to the global pandemic and racial injustice [as witnessed during the George Floyd protests in June]. I participated in the project as a curator, and as the film was returned to us, we spent the fall months reviewing the files and threading together meaningful images that form a collective narrative and work in relation to one another. 

Photo courtesy worthless studios.

Photo courtesy of worthless studios.

Why You Should Buy It: The postcards are affordable gifts that promote young photographers and the images they’ve made during this pivotal moment in history. The proceeds will help the organization continue to produce socially conscious public-art projects that promote community and accessibility, two things I focus on in my own work. 

Where to Buy Ithttps://www.worthlessstudios.org/shop/postcards 


Robert Diament

Robert Diament. Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Robert Diament. Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images.

Who He Is: Director of Carl Freedman Gallery and co-host of Talk Art Podcast

The Gift: How To Be An Artist by Jerry Saltz

How to Be an Artist by Jerry Saltz. Photo courtesy Riverhead Books.

How to Be an Artist by Jerry Saltz. Courtesy of Riverhead Books.

Why You Should Buy It: How To Be An Artist is an extraordinary book and without a doubt one of my highlights this year. I wholeheartedly support the message within this book, which is in many respects a masterclass in how to unlock your creative potential. It is a must-have for all artists and art lovers! It’s beautifully designed, and you can carry it around in your pocket whenever you are in need of inspiration. 

Where to Buy It: You can find it here or at your local bookshop.


Ellie Rines

Ellie Rines. Courtesy of Ellie Rines

Who She Is: Founder and director of 56 Henry gallery

The Gift: Drinking glasses from Asp & Hand. I like to mix and match as many styles as possible; I’m particularly fond of the copper blue and amber pieces. 

Why You Should Buy It: Asp & Hand is a glassblowing studio founded by Eli and Blair Hansen in Washington State. Everything is handblown, and their aesthetic is funky and cozy. Also, the glasswork is gorgeous. Drinking glasses are a good gift because you can ensure your loved ones will be fondly reminded of you every day, forever. 

Where to Buy It: aspandhand.com 


Roya Sachs

Roya Sachs. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Unibail Rodamco Westfield

Roya Sachs. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Unibail Rodamco Westfield.

Who She Is: Independent curator

The Gift: A limited-edition vase by Barbara Kruger, produced by Performa.

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Vase), 2020. Photo: Alistair Matthews

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Vase), 2020. Photo: Alistair Matthews.

Why You Should Buy It: Kruger is a pioneer of slogans, using her iconic typeface to critique consumerism and desire in our society. And what better way to “consume” than to join the movement and buy her first ever vase (edition of 100), which includes the bold words “NATURE” and “CULTURE” imprinted on either side of the porcelain object? These two entities resonate with me more than ever this year, because it was “NATURE” and “CULTURE” that got me through 2020. The vase is a symbol of hope… and it’s great for freshly cut lilies!

Where to Buy It: https://performa-artist-editions.myshopify.com/products/barbara-kruger-vase

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