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Maria Gabriela Brito Headshot

How to Rotate the Display of an Art Collection

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Same space, three different styles based on the art.

A few days ago I wondered, prompted by a friend's question, if I was an art hoarder more than an art collector. Well, my answer is that, basically, I'm out of walls in my apartment, and if that makes me a hoarder, then I am one. But I have to constantly rotate my collection and move pieces around along with my décor and furniture for the art to harmonize with my house and to be displayed in a way that enhances the collection and the space itself rather than bringing the whole thing down.

I recently acquired an LED and mirror electrical drum sculpture by Chilean artist, Ivan Navarro. I knew I needed to change things around and find the best space for it based on the following criteria: 1) proximity of an electrical outlet (the piece has to be plugged-in to show its "infinite tunnel" effect); 2) the piece required to be alone in a column or a small wall since, due to its size, placing it in a large wall could run the risk of diluting it; 3) last but not least, it also needed be installed at eye level, since the whole point of Ivan's pieces are to engage viewer interaction to peer into the illusionary abyss created in his sculptures.

After the drum was installed on the wall, I had to change almost everything that surrounded it. It was then that I noticed that this corner in my house has gone through several transformations, all driven by the art on the walls. The predecessors of this installation were: a self-portrait of Argentinean artist Flavia da Rin from the "Girl with Fairies" series created in a round format mounted in Plexiglas accompanied by stacks of art books -- which are the only constant in the reinventions -- and a Jonathan Adler pottery horse. That vignette was followed by a much-too-much combo integrated by a Ruud van Empel c-print, which was placed next to three mixed-media, wood-framed brown bags from Mark Bradford's "Can You Feel It?" series, plus kitschy Alexander Girard wood dolls and an Indian rope anteater (this was really a lot.) The latest and somewhat simpler installation has Ivan's drum plus a perpendicularly-placed wood framed edgy photograph by Assume Vivid Astro Focus. Only the art books on top of the demi-lune table remain because everything else was bringing the whole thing down. Even as a hoarder, one must know when to edit and when to stop.