Finding the right art gifts for contemporary art lovers in your life is rarely straightforward. But on the Wallpaper* arts desk, we’ve thought outside the best art gift ideas box with those suitable for every budget, mood, and niche – even those prone to a spot of self-gifting.
From collectible art to luxury art accessories, explore our guide to the best art gifts you had no idea you needed, until now.
1. Martha Freud's tongue-in-cheek ceramic collections
British ceramic artist (opens in new tab) Martha Freud offers a bold fusion of wit, cultural critique, and tongue-in-cheek wordplay in her debut capsule collections – comprising porcelain tableware and candles – available to purchase via her website. If you’re looking for an art gift that balances profanity, profundity, and poetry, look no further. From slogans like ‘I run a tight shipwreck’ and ‘Well, Well, Well, If It Isn’t The Consequences Of My Own Actions’ to ‘For fuck’s sake’– Freud doesn’t mince her words, and we’re very into it.
marthafreud.com (opens in new tab)
2. Pablo Bronstein creates architectural box for X Muse vodka
For the first in its limited-edition ‘Reveal Series’, vodka brand X Muse has commissioned UK-based, Argentine artist Pablo Bronstein to create a gift box ahead of the festive season. Bronstein, known for masterfully-rendered illustrations rooted in 18th-century aesthetics, futurist fantasies; utopian and dystopian architecture and industry, has turned the X Muse box into a folly, accented by amethyst-coloured architectural ornamentation, a nod to the involvement of amethysts in the vodka’s creation process.
£55 each, xmusevodka.com (opens in new tab)
3. Faunacrystopolis Monkey Candlestick by Baccarat and Jaime Hayon
One thing we learnt this year is that Baccarat and the fantastical universe of Jaime Hayon are quite the pairing. Within their Faunacrystopolis collection, we’re particularly smitten with the Monkey Candlestick, and Hayon’s reinterpretation of the brand’s Harcourt decanter into a fantastical bird sculpture - an art gift that hits the sweet spot between whimsy and refinement.
$480 each, uk.baccarat.com
4. M+ x Yayoi Kusama phone cases
We can never get enough of Yayoi Kusama’s art, and now we have the opportunity to carry it with us at all times. To coincide with the artist’s major new retrospective exhibition, Kusama and M+ Museum in Hong Kong have teamed up to create a range of dynamic phone cases (for iPhone and Samsung models) in collaboration with Casetify, available on the M+ online shop as the physical M+ store. They're perfect art gifts for the Kusama-obsessed (which, let's be honest, is most of us).
shop.mplus.org.hk (opens in new tab)
5. Ed Ruscha's cashmere-blend to support (RED)
Acclaimed American artist Ed Ruscha and Gagosian gallery have once again teamed up to support (RED), the organisation created by U2 frontman Bono and activist Bobby Shriver in 2006 to help end AIDS. Building on the success of the charity silk edition last year, this new cashmere-blend scarf sees Ruscha’s iconic text-based work, Science Is Truth Found Out (1986) set against a scene of silhouetted trees in a field of glowing red. Produced in a limited edition of 500, each is signed and numbered and available for $1,200 each. Now on presale, this art gift for good sees 100% of sales go to (RED), with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation matching every dollar raised for the Global Fund.
gagosianshop.com (opens in new tab)
6. Herman Miller prints offer a dose of design nostalgia
For decades, furniture brand Herman Miller has cemented itself as an industry leader, with universally recognised pieces including the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. Lesser known, but no less iconic, are its graphics and advertisements, serving as brand nostalgia for design lovers around the world. For the first time, Herman Miller has launched a 15-print collection of archival posters by designers and illustrators, which make for ideal art gifts. Featured creatives include George Nelson & Associates, Armin Hofmann, Phillip Mitchell, Steve Frykholm, Irving Harper, and Linda Powell.
hermanmiller.com (opens in new tab)
7. Take home a piece of ‘Strange Clay’ at the Hayward Gallery
The Hayward Gallery’s current exhibition, ‘Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art’ got the entire art world talking about the potential of ceramic art. Never have we seen the medium used to such potent narrative and visual effect. Five leading artists featured in the exhibition – Jonathan Baldock, Grayson Perry, Serena Korda, Salvatore Arancio and Lubna Chowdhary – have created a series of limited-edition artworks so you can take a piece of this acclaimed show home with you.
shop.southbankcentre.co.uk (opens in new tab)
8. Turn heads with Rashid Johnson's collection for Hauser & Wirth
When it comes to inventive contemporary art gifts, we’re often left art-struck by Hauser & Wirth. This year's highlights include Rashid Johnson's Anxious Men collection – a series of luxury sweatshirts, t-shirts and a cap, and My Ally, a limited edition by Jenny Holzer – fabricated from similar precious metals to those used in the artist’s ‘redaction paintings – which will benefit FactCheck.org and CAMFED. Elsewhere, the gallery’s epic Marcel Duchamp book is a readymade art gift for any Duchamp devotee, and who knew that Cindy Sherman's work would make such a statement on a skateboard?
hauserwirth.com (opens in new tab)
9. Sip on David Shrigley's immutable wit
Nothing screams affection more than a mug that reads ‘Sorry I fell asleep whilst you were talking’, courtesy of artist and wordsmith David Shrigley.
shop.balticmill.com (opens in new tab)
10. Break the ice over a Judy Chicago dinner plate
As dinner party conversation starters go, Judy Chicago’s ‘Bigamy Hood’ dinner plate could be up there with the most gripping. Available from Prospect at $195 each, the bone china plate depicts one of the feminist art trailblazer's earliest works, created in ‘macho’ automotive lacquer sprayed onto a car hood. Much like Chicago’s iconic installation The Dinner Party, Bigamy Hood was once greeted with derision, but now embodies her epic contribution to the evolution of feminist art. Art gifts also available from Prospect – the New York-based company known for top-tier art collaborations – are vibrant straws by Micha Kahn, and striking candles by Bonam Kim.
prospectny.com (opens in new tab)
11. Reach creative enlightenment with Marina Abramović
Lady Gaga and Jay-Z are among those who have followed the Abramović Method to reach higher creative consciousness. The Serbian artist and titan of performance art has spent the last half-century stretching the human body to breaking point, offering herself for audience experimentation, and eroding the seal between body and soul. Now, the artist’s iconic approach is available in a set of 30 instructions. So what’s on the cards? For starters, you might try ‘complaining to a tree’, in which you ‘Choose a tree you like. Put your arms around the tree. Complain to the tree’, for 15 minutes. If tree-hugging isn’t your jam, perhaps you could try ‘holding a mutual gaze’ with a willing partner? If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
laurenceking.com (opens in new tab)
12. Rewrite art history with Caran d'Ache’s sustainable drawing pencils
For its 2022 collection, Luxury Swiss art manufacturer Caran d'Ache have unveiled objects of pure creative desire. The range includes the 849 Ballpoint Pen – Caran d’Ache’s iconic pen reimagined in two new limited edition colour combinations, the Ecridor Sunlight, a luxury fine-writing pen finely engraved with a gold-plated gem and a sun-effect diamond guillochage and the Prismalo Pencil Set offering 12 two-toned pencils with three new combinations – and the ideal art gift for the practically minded.
carandache.com (opens in new tab)
Harriet Lloyd-Smith is the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.
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