Art For Art’s Sake

Cape Cod Home  /  Spring 2021 / ,

Writer: Larry Lindner / Photographer: Mike Crane 

When sourcing the perfect pieces for unique homes, those in the know turn to John Kirby’s team at Boston Art.

With the ocean just in front of this South Shore property and a marshland that changes with the tides right out back, it’s not surprising that the house is awash in windows—and therefore short on wall space for displaying the homeowner’s large and varied art collection. But art, she says, “is a supreme pleasure.” Not only did she want to incorporate much of the art she had brought from previous residences, she also wanted to add new art to allow this home to express its unique voice and realize its full potential.

Enter Boston Art, an un-paralleled resource at the Boston Design Center, whose experts worked with the homeowner and interior designer Susan Shulman to make sure the home’s new resident would be able to enjoy pieces she already owned, along with art chosen for the new location. The mission stated by Boston Art commits to—“elevate environments and enliven those who experience them,”—is realized through the carefully curated efforts and commitment their knowledgeable staff brings to every project.

A case in point: the homeowner wanted to display her collection of still life paintings by Russian artist Olga Antonova. But how to fit it all? In her previous home, two smaller studies of teacups hung on separate walls in the entry. Here, Boston Art stacked those two paintings one on top of the other on a narrow piece of kitchen wall next to a window in addition to stacking two larger ones on a wall in the dining area. There’s nothing crowded-looking about the result; it all looks just right, with the echoed motif creating a pleasing rove for the eye.

And when Shulman browsed the Boston Art showroom on her client’s behalf and saw a collection of three-dimensional glass “bubble” sculptures covered in reflective silver, the staff worked with her to tape off measurements on the showroom floor that corresponded with the wall space in the house for which she intended the installation. This kind of personalized assistance went even farther when the company’s installation manager, Joe O’Brien, then worked with Shulman to reproduce the arrangement on site, hanging the pieces with the precision required. The efforts clearly paid off, as the homeowner loves the effect. “I can see the water reflected in those all the time,” she says. 

Shulman has in fact been working with Boston Art for many years. She often shares the fabrics to be used in a room with the team at Boston Art, and they will then guide her toward pieces that work with the textures and color scheme. She likes that the 9,000-square-foot showroom, located in the Seaport District, offers limitless possibilities. The staff will put together slide shows that depict virtual installations of art on walls in a client’s home so that people can see what things will look like before they make a decision.

The homeowner, for her part, appreciates that they will curate solutions by a particular artist if they don’t have it in their own gallery and that they work with you to help you discover what you’re after. “They guide you with questions,” she says. She also appreciates the company’s no-pressure approach. “They don’t want to make the sale,” she comments. “They want your home to feel as personal as artwork is. I don’t think I could work with a traditional gallery the way I work with them.” 

It’s not just homeowners who find value in the collaborative process. From New York to California and from Europe to the Middle East, Boston Art works with clients on both indoor and outdoor art installations for everything from the public spaces in luxury condominiums to academic institutions, hospitals, hospitality suites, and corporate settings. If you have enjoyed the sculptures on the grounds of Charlestown’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, for instance, you have Boston Art to thank. 

Each client, whether for a residence or a commercial space, is assigned both a highly knowledgeable and experienced art consultant and a project manager to make sure everything runs smoothly on the administrative end, explains Boston Art founder John Kirby.  And they take it calmly and methodically, as both the homeowner and Shulman can attest. “We like to talk about your project,” Kirby says. “We don’t believe in pushing anybody into anything.”

In fact, if what you want doesn’t exist, Boston Art will commission it for you. Sometimes, Kirby says, what’s required for a location doesn’t happen to be in an artist’s studio or among the racks of paintings in their own gallery. But once an artist is identified as having the desired style or approach, they will work with him or her to create just the thing for a particular space.

“That’s the value proposition,” Kirby says, “helping you figure out what will be dynamic in your home or elsewhere.”

Or, as the homeowner puts it, “They kind of just make it happen.”

Visit bostonartinc.com for more information!

Check out Boston Art’s work in action here!

Larry Lindner