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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Not a fan of gallery walls

Fffound.

Full confession - I don't really like gallery walls. I know I'm alone in this, because every fourth post in the design blogosphere is devoted to gallery wall inspiration, swoons, j'adores, or a how-to.

It's not that I loathe gallery walls, they just do nothing for me. They've become the go-to solution for a big empty space. And the justification for compulsive thrift-ing and eBay clicking. I couldn't figure out why they bug me so much until I ran across these retro photos today.

Desire to Inspire.

Desire to Inspire.

Desire to Inspire.

Let the stoning begin...

48 comments:

nkp said...

This is the one time that I have to disagree. But you already knew that, I suspect . Although I fully loathe those last three examples, I do so love the first! I never really thought of it as a solution for a big empty wall. For me it's
more about creating a beautiful composition collected over time.

And if anyone dares to so much as toss a stone, call me. I've got your back. :0)

Emily said...

I 100% agree with nkp! Boy, you lost me today Raina. But, no design element is wrong or right in my book. It's all about personal taste. We need to all remember that!!!!!!!!!!

FROM THE RIGHT BANK said...

Like a dagger through my heart! Until I saw the last three walls I would have said I haven't met a gallery wall I didn't like. But I'll agree that they are pretty hideous.

Raina Cox said...

Emily - Yes, I understand to each his own. Which is why I joked "Let the stoning begin..."

This post wasn't meant to be a personal attack on anyone, just my thoughts on a very popular topic.

Lissa said...

I am somewhat with you on this one. I don't loath them like you do but they are everywhere! I am more tired of them than anything. The scary thing is they have been done for ages. They just seem to have gotten more trendy lately. We need something new for our big walls!

drollgirl said...

welllllll....sometimes salon style walls are nice. sometimes. i think a lot depends on the quality of the works displayed, and on the amount of works displayed. when it is an overkill situation, it tends to have that SWAP MEET LOOK, which is not a good thing.

sometimes i have to work art fairs (one of my least favorite things to do in life), and i think they look like glorified swap meets. even if the art works are hugely expensive, if a gallery throws as much up on the wall (ha - love that wording), as they can, it ends up looking desperate and tacky and amateurish. at least to me.

over and out!

Raina Cox said...

Let's keep this on track, Dumplings.

I don't LOATHE gallery walls.

They're just not my thing.

sarah, flourish design + style said...

The last images suck. They give us who like gallerys a bad name ;)

red.neck chic said...

I will not stone you... but mainly 'cause I AGREE WHOLE HEARTEDLY with you!!! LOL

Or - if you get stoned, I'm with you.

The last picture makes me shudder!!! LOL Of course, not everyone likes single-wides either...hee-hee

:-) robelyn

Bromeliad said...

Not a fan either. They are hard to do well, and I'm just an OCD symmetrical minimalist in general.

Tracy said...

I like your assessment of 'justification for compulsive thrifting and eBay clicking'. On the other hand, if it's a collection of items that are obviously thoughtfully put together (maybe even by thrifting and eBaying ;} ), it can be much different. The examples from today seem way too randomized for that.

The Shiny Pebble said...

So, I am thinking I like picture only gallery walls... the spoons and number I will skip on.

erin@designcrisis said...

stoned, heh.

I'm feeling pretty ambivalent. At heart I am a megalomaniac, so no gallery walls per se for me. I do have a petite grouping around my thermostat that serves its crapoflaging purpose well.

Raina Cox said...

Tracy - Hello and welcome to this deliciousness!

Erin - I noticed Karly did that, too. I love the way both of yours look.

my favorite and my best said...

i love you so much it hurts.
i don't dislike gallery walls. but they don't make for a panty changer either. here's the thing. i would much rather have a really awesome piece of art. a big, contemporary photo or something. or a canvas by ed ruscha. die. but a gallery wall is cute too..

Laurie - Little Blue Chairs said...

You are my hero to state so plainly something that you know everyone else loves, but you just say eh...

I have a few of those, but am not brave enough to voice my true thoughts. Although gallery walls are not one of them.

If we all love the same things life would be pretty boring.

Tell it like you see it! :)

Raina Cox said...

Laurie - Gallery walls are just "eh" for me. Kinda like zebra rugs - I just don't see why people get so excited about them.

THE BRICK HOUSE said...

I just hate big numbers or letters being used as art. Yuck. So over that trend.

Small scale thoughtful gallery walls are OK (with like three to five pieces) but large scale salon style installation has never floated my boat. Looks contrived.

Carolyn said...

Your "Let's keep this on track, Dumplings. I don't LOATHE gallery walls."

Carolyn said...

whoops...is cracking me up went at the end of that. You crack me up. Gallery walls I like.

nicolefalack@gmail.com said...

I like it, but NOT in a main room like a living or dining room. I do like it in a hallway. That Steven Gambrel hallway with the red frames? Argue with that!!!

I am with MFAMB on the big art thing. Much better than a lot of small pieces... But harder to find, which is why people do the gallery wall. I think.

Sketch42

Raina Cox said...

Carolyn - Hello and welcome to this deliciousness!

Nicole - Gambrel is a GOD who can do no wrong.

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

no stoning from this neck of the woods. Unless it is so perfect you can't breathe - it kind of looks under cooked to me.

Mackenzie {Design Darling} said...

i'm with you on zebra rugs but i do like a gallery wall done right (mind you, not those last three with baskets and kitchen paraphernalia). i'm all for a larger piece of artwork as per mfamb's suggestion but with smaller prints priced as they are a gallery wall can be much more economical.

Laura @ EdenRose said...

only you could find the three fugliest gallery wall's ever created in the entire world!!
For me? I kinda like them but i don't have any, simply because i'm not into fuss and crammed walls but having said that i'v seen some and they look nice but not for my house thanks very much X

Raina Cox said...

Laura - What can I say, it's a gift.

Laura @ EdenRose said...

Totally off topic, but i blinkin love that table in the last image. Iv got a slight crazy passion for zinc tables right now (i'm sure I'll be over it soon, dont worry)

ticklishfromadistance said...

I have seen some I love, some I hate. When people stick up every piece of shit in the closet and declare it a gallery, well, it looks like baskets and numbers. And then I am with you.

whitecabana said...

Ha ha - you are so good at making me laugh! I'm not sure how I feel about gallery walls - they are quite cluttery but I do have a gallery-type wall in my office and I don't mind it. Hmm...I think I have to read your post again because your blurb about g.walls is just to funny not to read twice.
-Jordana

Cashon&Co said...

No stoning here.... But I have ALWAYS loved paintings hung gallery style. It's probably because I collect art of any kind and always fill my walls up before I even buy a piece of furniture....

Kate said...

LOOOOVE that rustic baskets medley.
Just need a finely place croissant or baguette though.

brismod said...

You are justified to some extent for your thoughts about gallery walls. Sometimes they are purposely done to fill a space and generally with poor quality pieces. They can look a bit dodgy. But I agree with those who say a collection of good art over time and of personal relevance can never look wrong in a home.

Blue Piranha said...

I'm with you, Raina. I've seen, like, two examples *ever* that I thought were well done. The rest are just make my eyes hurt.

kristina said...

i feel the same way when i tell people i don't like radiohead. talk about a stoning...

Karena said...

Late to post on this, it has been a week!!! Gallery walls are ok done right othewise they make me dizzy like I said in your latest post.

I would much prefer a large work of fabulous art!

Karena
Art by Karena

Blue Piranha said...

Kristina!! Thumbs down on Radiohead?! *tosses a pebble*

Also, "are just" must be some kind of traditional Deep South expression. I are just sure of it!

propriatress said...

back in the 70s and 80s (especially the 80s) I did that whole Vertical Clutter thing...sure it's kinda cute, but right now it just seems...so clutteristic and gaggy....:-(

Lexy said...

I've got plans for a gallery-style panel of wall in my bedroom, and yet all those examples you posted leave me cold. They look like a space filler and an excuse for something trendy.

Shelley Trbuhovich said...

there's this girl i know, she absolutely adores art, can't get enough of french vintage signs and posters and has always collected the letter 's' since she was little. she is not the kind of person that can keep things rolled or wrapped under beds. she has filled every conceivable wallspace with one or two pieces max. but she spotted a small corner, next to a big arse vintage poster and a gorgeous 1950's chair in her home that needed a little something different. so she created a teensy, weensy gallery wall. and she is quite happy with her little gathering of goodies. my friend thinks there is a small chance you'd approve....who knows, she may even get herself inappropriately groped!
i love hearing your opinions, raina, i wouldn't have you any other way.

Tonia @Chic Modern Vintage said...

Raina, and I was planning to do one, back to the drawing board.

Daniel-Halifax said...

HOW COULD YOU!!?!?

Just kidding! I kind of agree with you, the only gallery wall I like is my own.

Raina Cox said...

Lexy - Hello and welcome to this deliciousness!

Kiki said...

Hello, hello, hello - let's just say that I am loving this little discussion errr!! "the blogersation" I think I'm gonna trademark that word - I digrees!! This is awesome - see that's what a topic like this does, evoke the passions in us all!! Well, I must say and don't hate me at all, I L-O-V-E a gallery wall but like most of you stated, there are some exceptions... I like it contained, not all over the place and you are right, it's been used where great art should be!!! BTW, your photos OMG - they absolutely crap shoot any thought of having a gallery wall....and I think that was purposely done...LOL!!

XOXO
Kiki

Raina Cox said...

Kiki - Hello and welcome to this deliciousness!

Julie said...

I'll stand up with your for a stoning. To me, they look like wall clutter. There's rarely a nice point that anchors your eye and it just spins around the room. And if you have one interesting piece of art, it gets lost in the shuffle. I know why people like them- they're easy and cheap to put together. But you know what? They look cheap and easy.

markcalderwood said...

Just reading back through your archives Raina, brilliant blog...and have to sort of agree. Although those examples are not really 'gallery walls', they're vertical litter.

I'm a design noob, but I loathe those expanses of faux-art 'collector' frame wallpaper, or random jumbles of shit found in op shops to stick on the wall in a thrashing budget makeover frenzy. I call those 'gallery walls'.

There's light years' distance between those and a tastefully displayed group of art you love, has great meaning to you, and has been collected from over long years that gives you something restoring to see everywhere you look. For those I use the hallowed museum term for a place to relax and enjoy. That's not a gallery wall. That's a *salon*.

Raina Cox said...

markcladerwood - Hello and welcome! "Vertical litter" is my new catchphrase.

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

Thank god I only just found this otherwise I would have just left...timing is everything. But I feel we go way back now so this will be one of those things we don't discuss during family gatherings.