Art Exhibits in New York Developments Attract a Different Audience
Apartment hunters and art lovers collide this spring, thanks to New York City real estate developers staging exhibits and installing new orders in condo and rental developments.
Hosting an exhibition or providing an immersive art experience is a softer selling strategy for property developers. It aims to appeal to a wider audience – not just New Yorkers looking for a new apartment, but also people wanting to see art in person – and to generate excitement for a development project. The murals and other commissioned pieces are part of the same approach – they make a statement about the building to potential buyers and tenants as well as art lovers, and add to the residents’ quality of life.
An installation by Brooklyn-based contemporary artist Yuko Nishikawa seems like a good fit for design and development firm The Brooklyn Home Company, which commissioned her work to display in one of its condos in a newly opened building at 137 Fourth Ave. at Park Slope.
“I love that not only are buyers looking at the house, but also people who love art,” says Bill Caleo, co-founder and COO. Art has been at the heart of the company’s philosophy since its inception – the company made bespoke furniture for its first projects.
Nishikawa’s installation, “Memory Functions,” which features room-filling mobiles made from paper pulp, was set in a condo with floor-to-ceiling windows and lots of natural light.
“I saw Yuko’s work and knew he would shine in this space,” says Caleo. “Plus, it’s low impact – it just made a few little holes in the ceiling that I can plug.”
The link between art and the sale of condos
“It’s hard to measure the relationship between exposure and sales, but I think it helps sales,” says Lindsay Barton Barrett, broker at Douglas Elliman, which represents sales at 137 Fourth Ave. “It expands our universe and introduces the project to people who may not have seen it,” she says.
Hosting an exhibition is an event that generates energy and interest. “It’s a bit different than just exhibiting a piece of art,” she says.
Art elevates residential space
Of course, integrating art into a residential development is not a new concept, but one that is receiving renewed attention, at least from some developers. CetraRuddy Architecture, for example, is reviving its practice of incorporating murals into building design.
“We have always incorporated art into our residential buildings, either commissioning new pieces or curating a collection,” says Nancy Ruddy, Principal Co-Founder and Executive Director of Interior Design at CetraRuddy Architecture. The company commissioned a mural for the recently opened Rose Hill condo tower at 30 East 29th St., developed by the Rockefeller Group.
Art that is unique to a particular building “adds character and lends a personal quality to the residents’ experience of the space,” Ruddy said.
The mural took artist Matthew Cole several months to paint directly onto the lobby wall. The room is designed as a nod to the Jazz Age sensibility of the owner’s marquee property, the iconic Rockefeller Center, where murals are part of the interior decor. Cole’s mural is a panorama that spans three centuries in the neighborhood, which was once known as Rose Hill. The piece brings a representation of nature and the outdoors into the interior space.
It’s a showpiece and a conversation starter, says Meg Brod, Rockefeller Group’s senior managing director. “It certainly helped us when touring with potential buyers,” she adds.
A sold-out show for an immersive experience
Over the weekend, the iconic 1908 Dime Savings Bank, part of The Dime, a 23-story terracotta and glass tower in South Williamsburg, played host to artist Jill Magid’s ‘Tender Presence’, an immersive site-specific installation with film and sound. The sold-out show “provides a common site for pandemic reflection in New York City,” according to its organizers and the venue is fitting – rental units at The Dime launched at the height of the pandemic in May 2020.
Here are some other examples of recently created artwork for new developments.
At 200 Amsterdam, the tallest building on the Upper West Side, developers have installed more than $1 million worth of artwork in amenity spaces and model residences, which will be replaced each year. Gallery and museum quality pieces include works by Jeff Bark, Hans Beeck, Joan Miro and Kaveri Raina.
At 44 Box St., a six-story condominium building in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, local artist Alex Russel has created a custom wood panel mural that highlights local landmarks and amenities. It also serves as a map of the region.
Time Equities’ Art in Buildings program, launched in 2000, is a large-scale program that connects emerging and mid-career artists with non-traditional exhibition spaces, including residential buildings. The company has two new facilities in its buildings at 50 West St. and 80 Nassau St.
These installations are “typical of what we do as a way to bring art and support artists into a renovation budget,” says Tessa Ferreyros, director and curator of Art in Buildings. “I think it’s important to continue to buy from artists and support their We seek to find the best works that will look great in a space and fit into any renovation or renovation budget given to us. “, she says.