In effort at compromise, co-op boards use lobby walls as gallery space

December 10, 2012 01:30PM

When it comes to the art in a building’s lobby, residents can be fiercely sectarian. Choosing between an idyllic 19th-century still life or an edgy contemporary abstract can be nearly impossible for a co-op board, but some buildings have found a solution, the New York Times reported. Buildings are increasing turning their lobby walls into a rotating gallery space, where art of all sorts flows through one end of the revolving door and out the other end.

Buildings like 350 Bleecker Street, a 110 unit co-op in Greenwich Village, have begun hosting a new show every six weeks or so, and even allow their residents to purchase the art.

“If you like it, you can buy it,” Armanda Squadrilli, a building resident and senior vice president at Douglas Elliman, said. “And if you don’t like it, it’ll be gone in a few weeks.”

Another strategy being used by some buildings, like 251 West 19th Street, a condominium in Chelsea, is to lease art for short periods that would otherwise be unaffordable.

“A lot of people who have this kind of art in their living room are very, very rich people, but this is not a very, very rich building,” Leonard Steinberg, a managing director at Douglas Elliman, who owns an apartment in 251 West 19th Street that he rents out, said. “They are enjoying art of a caliber they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.” [NYT] —Christopher Cameron