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Art Gets Restoration: Restoration Hardware Opens Art Gallery Brand Extension

November 5, 2013

RH-Contemporary-Art-location-nyc-1Real Estate Brochure by Real Estate Arts (REA) showing 437W16th in New York, new home of RH Contemporary Art

Situated just north of Chelsea Market at 437 W. 16th Street is a pristine brick building; affixed to its facade wave four banners carrying the name—RH Contemporary Art. The recognizable type font coupled with the light patina that covers the bricks creating that “purposeful distressed look” give the passerby clues. This is not a one-of-a-kind Chelsea Art Gallery, but an offshoot of the Restoration Hardware (RH) brand.

US-ART-RAIN ROOM-MOMARain Room, 2013 by rAndom International purchased by RHCA showed at the MOMA, New York, NY
Image by Timothy Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Restoration Hardware Contemporary Art (RHCA) is not as radical of a departure for the Restoration Hardware (RH) brand as one might suspect. For years RH, founded in 1979, has been publishing a well curated catalog with enough aesthetic appeal to decorate the coffee-tables of those with a discerning eye. In its more obvious display of interest in the art world, RH’s first acquisition “Rain Room” was featured at MoMA this past spring. By most standards “Rain Room” was a highly successful inaugural venture – generating much interest and the wait lines to match! Now, with RHCA, RH aims to create a large scale platform for international contemporary art – in particular, emerging or newly burgeoning artists.

Restoration-Hardware-Contemporary-Art-Rain-Room-2
Rain Room, 2013 by rAndom International purchased by RHCA showed at the MOMA, New York, NY
Image by Natt Garun.

Is this brilliant brand extension or a strategic move to stay relevant? According to Gary Friedman, Creator and Curator, RH desires to “curate a lifestyle well beyond the four walls of the home.” With apparel retailers such as UGG and H&M encroaching on the home decorating industry, this expansion seems prudent.

Toby-Christian-Unseen-blows-1Unseen Blows by Artist Toby Christian one of the artist in RH’s stable.
Image by Toby Christian.

But can RH retain the “cool factor” or mystique that comes from finding something that has not yet been discovered, like an edgy treasure from a boutique art gallery? With its pieces available online and covered with return policies, it will be hard to describe them as undiscovered. However, increasing visibility for these artists means mission accomplished for RHCA. As for edginess, it remains to be seen if RHCA will be more ‘ready-to-wear’ than runway. More ‘Club Monaco’ than ‘Gaultier’? But, perhaps we should be asking these questions of ‘RH Atelier’ which, according to a July press release, is coming down the pike.

Peter-Demos-untitled-2013-1Untitled, 2013 by Artist Peter Demos.
Matte and Gloss Acrylic on Dyed Canvas.
Image by Peter Demos.

Will the art inside be as pleasant as its building’s charming exterior? Judge for yourself! Starting this Saturday, November 9, the gallery opens with its first exhibit which will showcase the works of Nathan Baker, Toby Christian, Peter Demos, Samantha Thomas, and Natasha Wheat. This exhibit is expected to run through January 25, 2014.

Visit: RH Contemporary Art at http://www.rhcontemporaryart.com


About the author: Bill Indursky

Bill Indursky is an architect, trend expert, and digital entrepreneur. He is the former founder of V&M (Vintage & Modern (2006-2013)) and the current founder of Design Life Network (DLN). DLN is a MAGAZINE + DESIGN AGENCY + MARKETPLACE + TV CHANNEL promoting inspiring design of all eras online and on TV.


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