From Julie Mehretu’s Converted Church to Alberto Giacometti’s Tiny Paris Flat, See Inside Some of the Most Unusual Artist Studios in History

These aren’t your typical artist studios.

Julie Mehretu at work. Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery © Julie Mehretu; photo Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

So much of art viewing today takes place in white-walled galleries or the hallowed halls of museums. Art audiences don’t often get the chance to see the places where the magic happens: the studio.

For your viewing pleasure, we’ve rounded up eight of the most interesting places where famous artists have made art, from a church in Harlem to an open-air porch in Guatemala.

Alberto Giacometti’s Tiny Paris Flat

Alberto Giacometti dans son atelier [Alberto Giacometti in his Studio] - Photo Ernst Sheidegger Collection Giacometti Foundation, Paris © Giacometti Estate (Giacometti Foundation + ADAGP) Paris 2018

Alberto Giacometti in his studio. Photo: Ernst Sheidegger Collection Giacometti Foundation, Paris. © Giacometti Estate (Giacometti Foundation + ADAGP) Paris 2018.

Studio location: 14th arrondissement, Paris

Legendary sculptor Alberto Giacometti’s tiny studio on rue Hippolyte-Maindron clocked in at less than 300 square feet, and had no running water and exceptionally dim lighting. The original studio—taken down and preserved by Giacometti’s widow after his death—was recently reconstructed in a new location, permanently preserving the unique space for generations to come.

Rose Wylie’s Work-From-Home Setup

Rose Wylie. Photo by Tim Gutt, courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.

Rose Wylie in her studio. Photo by Tim Gutt, courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.

Studio location: Faversham, Kent, United Kingdom 

Neat freaks, beware. Rose Wylie’s studio is covered in a carpet of newspapers; paint drippings dot every surface, and works in progress hang on the walls. As the artist herself once said of the studio at her home in Kent, “It’s very convenient, it’s heated, it’s got good windows, and I can work in it without feeling responsible to the room.” 

Frida Kahlo’s Birthplace, Studio and Final Resting Place

Frida Kahlo’s studio at Casa Azul. Via Frida Kahlo Museum’s virtual tour.

Studio location: Coyoacán, Mexico City

The house Frida Kahlo shared with husband Diego Rivera had studio space for both artists, but Frida also had a studio located in her family home in Coyoacá, Mexico City. The iconic Casa Azul is where Kahlo was born, grew up, worked for a number of years, and died, in 1957.

Cy Gavin’s Converted Barn

Cy Gavin's studio in Stanfordville, New York. Image courtesy the artist.

Cy Gavin’s studio in Dutchess County, New York. Image courtesy the artist.

Studio location: Dutchess County, New York 

Contemporary artist Cy Gavin ditched Manhattan for upstate New York a few years ago, and apparently hasn’t looked back since. After cleaning out an abandoned barn of wasps and vermin, the artist was able to set up his studio on the second floor, which comfortably fits his large canvases.

Vivian Suter’s Open-Air Guatemalan Retreat

Vivian Suter, Studio view, Panajachel, Guatemala, 2018. Courtesy of the Artist und Gladstone Gallery, New York/Brüssel; House of Gaga; Karma International und Proyectos Ultravioleta. Foto: David Regen

Studio location: Rural Guatemala

After going through a divorce in the 1980s, Vivian Suter and her mother, artist Elisabeth Wild, traveled to Guatemala and found home at the base of volcanoes near Lake Atitlán. There, Suter set up an outdoor studio, on a property where she still lives and works today.

Julie Mehretu’s Cavernous Harlem Church

Julie Mehretu at work. Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery © Julie Mehretu; photo Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Studio location: Harlem, New York City

In order to create her largest-scale project to date, Julie Mehretu temporarily moved into a cavernous space in a decommissioned church in Harlem. Perching on a mechanized lift to execute the works—which were eventually installed at SFMOMA in 2017–Mehretu worked out of the space for 14 months.

Keith Haring’s Soho Loft

Painter Keith Haring in his studio in New York City. (Photo by Paulo Fridman/Corbis via Getty Images)

Painter Keith Haring in his studio in New York City. (Photo by Paulo Fridman/Corbis via Getty Images)

Studio location: Soho, New York City

During the last five years of his life, Keith Haring worked out of a joy-filled fifth floor studio right on Broadway in New York—back when Soho was an affordable haven for artists. His iconic “Pop Shop” was just around the corner on Lafayette Street, as was his residence on LaGuardia Place.


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