A very thin border goes between art and design, and often they converge so it had been hard to tell them apart. The question “what is art” is a very big one – for me, art is anything that touches me, moves and excites me, and architecture or design can thrill me to chills, the same way a painting or a statue can.
It’s been 14 years since Keren Bar Gil, a curator and collecting advisor, began her yearly, 10 days-to a month-long project. The purpose of the project, says Keren, is to “present museum art at a domestic domain, to demonstrate that art doesn’t belong in museums and galleries alone, but can co-exist with a home, children and pets”. Having said that, she notes that the exhibition name’s origin isn’t in the good old “salon” (Hebrew for living room) but in the 17th century “salon” culture – the way of royally to present art in mansions and palaces.
In previous years, Bar Gil presented Salon at her home in Ramat ha Sharon. This year, she choose to do it at Beit Corten, a private residence built in Savion by one of her clients, the talented and well-known architect Pitzo Kedem. The exposed concrete is very impressive in its structural cleanliness, true to the architect’s “box” style. Kedem called the creation Beit Corten in the name of a specially processed steel of which one element of the house is made – a perforated “wrapper”. Needless to say the building is breathtakingly beautiful and an excellent example of a time when architecture meets art. When I asked Keren how does she see this connection, she answered: “Design has to be artistic, but it’s not good when art is design-y. I keep it in mind when displaying artwork”.
Keren tends to choose works of art-design, “not mass-produces items”, she explains, pointing at a piece by Ilan Garibi, also present in my own house, or by artists like Ron Aloni and others featured at the Fresh Paint exhibition I previously wrote about. Right now, she presents about 20 different artists. “I choose them over the years and it’s rare that I add someone, usually it’s someone who simply interests me”.
What artists interest you? Established or up-and-coming ones?
“Usually I work with emerging artists – people in the middle of their journey, that already present in galleries and museums in Israel and abroad”.
Keren is nurturing and promoting her artist, just like galleries do. But according to her, her commission is lower than the field’s widespread 50%. “To lower costs, I try to find inexpensive spaces, like in this case”, she explains.
The exhibition might be over, but in case you’re interested, the house is for sale – for a humble sum of 20 million NIS (about 5.5 million USD). It looks like the owner used the art project to promote the sale – a great idea, in my opinion.
According to Keren, unlike previous ‘Salon’ events in her own home, this connection multiplied the visitors’ amount by 5. “Pitzo Kedem’s name brought many people, and the project got more publicity than usual”.
To the question about the Salon’s next location – in a home or again an architectural structure – Bar Gil so far has no answer. One way or another, nowadays when we’re used to a combination of stimuli, such a combination provokes our aesthetic sense and intensifies the experience. Even if you don’t need a new house, or if you don’t buy new art, a visit at the Salon promises an aesthetic, enjoyable and moving experience.
I’d love to meet you at one of Keren’s salons – next year!