Gift giving is an art form. A thoughtful gift means connecting with someone’s spirit and knowing what will please them. Naturally, art-related gifts tend to be at the top of my list, and those I have received have become some of my most treasured belongings.
Here are a few of my go-to places for finding the best art (and design) gifts in a range of prices:
Your desk. The curator Hans Ulrich Obrist’s popular Instagram feed is filled with artists’ handwritten messages to the world, and it serves as a reminder of the powerful impact that taking pen to paper—or even to Post-it—can have. In our typing-obsessed culture, spending a few minutes writing a reflective note to someone can have tremendous meaning, and at the very least reveal to him or her what your handwriting looks like. Though most of us may not be as clever as the creatives who contribute to Obrist’s project, don’t be afraid to write down a quote that you find especially expressive.
Gracie. The Santa Monica Museum of Art is known for insightful exhibitions that put it on par with Europe’s most respected kunsthalles. But people also flock to its fantastic gift shop. Dollhouses, blocks, artist-designed plates, and pj’s are just a few of the quirky and original objects you’ll find there.
Art Catalogues @LACMA. Few things are more personal than a book. This may especially be true for my friends, and finding something that they will feel is library-worthy can be a daunting but rewarding task. Dagny Corcoran’s bookstore at LACMA is expertly curated, and her team is friendly and knowledgeable. A rotating installation features color-coordinated books and framed artist editions. Also check out Wear LACMA at the gift store located on the museum’s plaza: Collaborations inspired by the museum’s collection by such designers as Jen Meyer and Greg Chait (The Elder Statesman) make smart gifts for even the most discerning Angelenos.
A+R on Abbot Kinney and La Brea. Design impresarios Andy Griffith and Rose Apodaca are expanding their reach across the city. You can now find their colorful, unique presentation of global design in two beautiful stores on the east side and west. I always find brilliant (nonprincess themed!) gifts for kids here like hand puppets and robot cubes. There are also great options for the hardest-to-shop-for cook or entertainer.
The MOCA Store. Make your holiday shopping an art adventure. Visit the museum on Grand Avenue and take a quick walk to Grand Central Market (wear comfortable shoes—there are stairs). Try Valerie, Eggslut, or Horse Thief BBQ for a satisfying lunch. The uniquely L.A. treasure, the Bradbury Building, is also nearby. The MOCA Store has something for everyone: artist-designed towels, T-shirts, building blocks, totes, and much, much more.
Photos: @hansulrichobrist/Instagram; Courtesy of Gracie; Ramona Rosales for A+R