Is there a gift that keeps on giving? If so, it’s probably art (or a phonograph). But buying art for someone other than yourself is always tricky business. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying. So a few tips about how to buy, and where to buy in D.C.
How to Buy:
1) Buy it in person. You’re less likely to be disappointed post-purchase.
2) Identify a type of art you think your person would buy, or already has demonstrated they like—photography, prints, paintings, sculpture, fine art books.
3) Imagine the work you are buying, situated in the person’s home for whom you are buying it. Do you think it works in the living room? The bedroom? On the coffee table?
Where to buy:
1) Independent Artists: Maybe they’re not represented, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have awesome stuff to sell you. Ask around, browse this blog and other local blogs, search the City Paper archives… the magic of the internet means that almost all artists have blogs or websites these days where you can contact them and ask about buying their work.
2) Galleries: We have a wealth of great local galleries! Both commercial and non-profit ones who represent a range of emerging, mid-career and established local artists. Check my link for local galleries to see who I’m talking about.
3) Schools: We’ve got the Corcoran, American University, MICA in Baltimore, and various other programs. They all have art shops.
4) Museums: Here in D.C. we’ve got plenty of options. The Smithsonian museums, the Corcoran, the Phillips, the Kreeger, the Textile Museum, etc.