Unwrapped: The Art Lover’s Gift Guide

All the pretty things

Tis officially the season for gift-giving. For us, that’s a full month (31 days!) in which we’ll be providing gift ideas for everyone on your list with our Unwrapped holiday gift guides. So make your holiday shopping a breeze this season, and let us help you find gifts for all the people in your life—and maybe even a spoiled pet or two.

I won't lie, I sometimes have a hard time keeping... on theme with gift guides. Possibly this is because I just have a difficult time with categorization in general. Like, am I an art lover? Sure! But I'm also a sleep lover and an... other things lover. To be honest, I kind of love everything a little bit, and then some things, well... some things I love too much. And I assume it's the same for everyone else for whom I'm shopping.

All to say, here is a list of gifts that any art lover in your life will like, and maybe even love as much as they love... art. Partly they will like these things because they are all beautiful—even if, in some cases, the beauty is not immediately apparent. And partly they will love these things because it is you who are giving these gifts to them. What a treat.

One final note before, you know, diving in: Some of these gifts are geared toward the "art lover," some toward the "artist," and some toward that most interesting of creatures, "the artist lover." The latter probably needs one of these gifts most of all.

Photo courtesy of Meromi Studios

Ohad Meromi, Sunset Lamp, price upon request, available at meromi.studio.

This graciously curving lamp has a wit and brightness to it that makes me think I wouldn't even need to turn it on for it to light up a room. But it is, of course, fully functional and so is the kind of highly coveted home decor item that is both practical and beautiful, the latter in a singularly playful way. The piece is the first of its kind of sculptor Ohad Meromi, who has had his work shown in places like the Serpentine Gallery in London, and MoMA PS 1 in New York. Get this as a gift for the art lover in your life and be, you know, adored forever for your fine taste and appreciation for the utilitarian needs of even the most artistic among us.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

The Square, tickets, prices vary, available at Fandango.

Definitely one of the year's best films (and it's no surprise, really, since it's directed by Ruben Östlund, who also also helmed the perfect Force Majeure), The Square is an ideal film for the art lover since it is a send up of, well, the art world. And, look, if your art lover doesn't have a sense of humor about art, do they really deserve a gift at all? No.

Photo courtesy of Coming Soon

Mosser Glass, Bathing Beauty in Cobalt, $38, available at Coming Soon.

Art lovers love the human form, right? And Yves Klein blue? And... a place to put burning things? This little dish is a lovely object, then, for the art lover who loves all those things.

Photo courtesy of Isabel Halley Ceramics

Isabel Halley Ceramics, Marbled White Vase with Blue Stripes, $190, available at Isabel Halley Ceramics.

Ceramics certainly are having a moment right now, but if you're going to gift something, have it be something extraordinarily lovely and graceful like this elegant vase, with delicate marbling and beautifully saturated blue brushstrokes. Do a little extra and include some eucalyptus leaves, as seen in the image above.

Photo courtesy of New Museum

Pipilotti Rist, Pipilotti Rist Clutch, $38, available at New Museum.

I very much like that flash of green in the left eye here, that hint of heterochromia iridum. I mean, who knows. It could just be a function of the photography, not of biology, but still. I like it. And I think any art lover will like carrying this around with them, too.

Photo courtesy of Diagonal Press

Tauba Auerbach, Z Helix Rolling Papers, $5, available at Diagonal Press.

Too many people vape these days, and it makes me worry that the fine art of rolling, um—whatever it is you want to roll—will be lost. Contribute to the preservation of this possibly dying art by giving someone these very chill rolling papers covered with the Z helix pattern. 

Photo courtesy of Coming Soon

Anna Karlin Studios, Bedside Carafe, $210, available at Coming Soon.

Fact: Everyone should have water by their bed. It makes life so much better (wetter). These carafes would be a beautiful pop of color by any bedside table, and while it is true that an artist once warned me about keeping anything made of glass by the bed, which is why I personally keep my water in a copper container (it's an Ayurvedic thing), why not give this gift to someone who has a carpeted bedroom floor, and, like, tacitly encourage them to live life on the edge? 

Photo courtesy of Natalie Krim

Natalie Krim, Limited Edition Riding Print, $50, available at Natalie Krim.

I love Krim's prints, and I love this one in particular. It reminds me of the marginalia in my high school notebooks, only so much more... refined. I'd love to give this to someone and hope they hang it somewhere special, like over the bathtub.

Photo courtesy of Whitney Museum

Whitney Museum, Drama Pearl Earrings, $499, available at Whitney Museum.

Art lovers are also, inherently, drama lovers (or is that artists lovers?). Probably they also like pearls, as long as they've been, you know, re-contextualized from around Barbara Bush's neck. These earrings are definitely all that, and then some.

Photo courtesy of Prestel

Radical Women: Latin America Art, 1960-1985 by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Andrea Giunta, $45.76, available at Barnes & Noble.

This is a vital look at the contributions of contemporary Latin American women artists, as well as those of Latina and Chicana descent, in fields ranging from sculpture to painting to performance art to video. The book also contains essays which contextualize the art and the artist within their countries of origin. It's a fascinating account of some truly radical work, and a worthy gift for anyone unable to make the exhibition of the same name at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, where it still runs through December 31.  

Photo courtesy of Farrar, Straus, & Giroux

Too Much and Not the Mood by Durga Chew-Bose, $15, available at IndieBound.

Any art lover will love this collection of essays by the preternaturally sensorily attuned writer Durga Chew-Bose. Few writers have as uncanny a feel for visual description, and one of the most impression-making scenes in the book involves a young Chew-Bose drawing a picture of her family watching TV, the light from the screen casting an ethereal glow on the page. When she hands in the piece of art for a school assignment, her teacher doesn't fully understand its beauty. If that isn't relatable for artists everywhere, then what is?

Photo courtesy of Young Blanks

Molly Young & Teddy Blanks, Table of NYC Trash, $40, available at Young Blanks.

Some art is garbage, so, obviously, some garbage must be art. Let this smartly designed taxonomy of New York's street trash remind you of this fact. And advise the recipient of this gift to see it as a challenge of sorts. How many of these objects can they find for themselves? Some things are more elusive than others, but those bottles of pee... well, once you start seeing them, you'll find them everywhere.

Photo courtesy of MoMA

Yayoi Kusama, Kusama Pumpkin, $280, available at Museum of Modern Art.

Perhaps your art lover couldn't get into any of the Yayoi Kusama gallery shows currently stalking the country. Assuage their FOMO by giving them this happily diseased-looking pumpkin!

Photo courtesy of Coming Soon

Group Partner, Boy Leaves Pot, $65, available at Coming Soon.

Remember way back at the beginning of this list when we said art lovers intrinsically love the human form? Well, here's another human form that holds things. In this case, it's a plant! Yay, greenery. This is particularly good for the millennial art lover. 

Photo courtesy of KiddBell

Penelope Gazin, "Art Is Dumb" pin, $12, available at KiddBell.

An artist gave this to me, an art lover. And I love it. So your art lover probably will, too, if they're smart and have a sense of humor about themselves. And... art.