Deco-lecting: Why More and More Collectors Literally See Their Art As Wall Dressing

Collectors often resist the urge to reduce art to an investment.

Peter Halley, Vertical Limit (2000). Courtesy of artnet Auctions.
Peter Halley, Vertical Limit (2000). Estimate: $60,000–80,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

The trend of “Specu-lecting” hit the art market like an all-consuming wildfire in the midst of the 2008 economic crisis.

One part speculation and one part collecting, the idea of art as investment came with the foremost goal of profit. It made some of us winners, but plenty of the rest of us were Ponzi losers, including the artists.

With the odds of quickly flipping an artwork to a huge profit now greatly diminished—not to mention the lack of desirability of such clientele to dealers— we’re noticing the trend of “Deco-lecting” has sprung up to take its place.

Marilyn Minter, <em>AARRGH! #2</em> (1993). Estimate: $5,000–7,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

Marilyn Minter, AARRGH! #2 (1993). Estimate: $5,000–7,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

The idea of Deco-lecting is to let your art do what it does best, serving as a relatively function-less decorative object, rather than a litmus of profitability.

In Deco-lecting, collectors hang their acquired artworks in their own homes, rather than letting them collect dust in a freeport—the goal actually IS to decorate!

Damien Hirst, <em>Your Touch (from The Wonder of You)</em>, 2015. Estimate: $10,000–12,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

Damien Hirst, Your Touch (from The Wonder of You), 2015. Estimate: $10,000–12,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

The movement is geared to emerging collectors who are interested in doing their own thing, rather than taking their cues from museums or art world trendsetters. And, as an added bonus, the rush to harvest stylish furnishings for one’s home can still lead to worthwhile investments.

To get a sense of what Deco-lecting could look like in your home, check out artnet Auction’s current sale “In Situ” (August 3–12), which features artworks as they would appear hung in a home or office environment.

Robert Rauschenberg, <em>Residence (from Speculations)</em>, 1997. Estimate: $6,000–8,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

Robert Rauschenberg, Residence (from Speculations), 1997. Estimate: $6,000–8,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

Here are five reasons why you should begin to Deco-lect today:

1. If it is home design and furnishings you crave, all that separates your home from decadence in any style is the click of a mouse, thanks to the internet and online art sales!

Barnett Newman, <em>The Moment (from Four on Plexiglass)</em>, 1966. Estimate: $25,000–35,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

Barnett Newman, The Moment (from Four on Plexiglass), 1966. Estimate: $25,000–35,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

2. Many top international artists (and even some of historic acclaim) are producing or have produced unique work in prints or multiples priced affordably—go ahead and remove yourself from those West Elm mailings.

3. The psychic dividend in art is your own enjoyment. In that respect, buying a work of art you truly love is the best investment one can make! If you are following the election coverage, consider doubling-down on you Deco-lecting regimen.

Sol LeWitt, <em>Complex Form with Black and Gray Bands</em> (1988). Estimate: $5,000–7,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

Sol LeWitt, Complex Form with Black and Gray Bands (1988). Estimate: $5,000–7,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

4. If you want to make an omelet you’ll have to break some eggs. Deco-lecting lets you get your hands dirty with the process of art transactions without having to commit to “forever.”

5. The marketplace is ripe with opportunities to acquire artworks easily and safely through the internet—but keep in mind all sources are not created equal. To buy art that has been vetted by a specialist’s expertise, we suggest you visit artnet Auctions.

Roy Lichtenstein, <em>Brushstroke I</em>, (1986). Estimate: $5,000–7,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

Roy Lichtenstein, Brushstroke I, (1986). Estimate: $5,000–7,000. Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

The “In Situ” auction is live August 3–12, 2016.

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