What Happens When A Masterpiece Of Art Is Hung In A Very Weird Place?

Apr 1, 2014 | Life With Art

John Singer Sargent

(John Singer Sargent)

What happens when a materpiece of art is displayed in a strange place?

We don’t often have the luxury of exploring whether “great” art is great within a “great” context… or if it is “great” anywhere.  We tend to see art in rarified spaces: galleries, museums, private estates, universities.  We rarely see a prized collection in a less-than-dazzling home.  Or a bathroom. Or a laundromat.

I once heard a memorable lecture by Richard Serra, the great creator of monumental sculpture in metal. LACMA had just installed a massive piece of his. One of the first things he said, standing in the theater just beside the exhibit, was: “The space is all wrong for this piece.”

It was funny for a multitude of reasons, namely how brazen it was. But, also, it raised a question I hadn’t stopped to ask quite enough: Is art only great when displayed in a great space? And then another:  Can masterpieces elevate a terrible room to extraordinary?

Great Art In Ugly Rooms is a Tumblr by Paul Kremer that explores the greatness of historically profound work when hung in ugly spaces. Here are a few of my favorites! I’m so curious to know what you think…

Is art only great when displayed in a great space? 

Can masterpieces elevate a terrible room to extraordinary? 


(Mark Rothko)

Gustav Klimt

(Gustav Klimt)

marilyn minter

(Marilyn Minter)

Clyfford Still

(Clyfford Still)

Monet, Manet, Renoir

(Monet, Manet, Renoir)

Nan Goldin

(Nan Goldin)

So, this final one… I think its actually probably better in the context.

I do believe the art lifts each space dramatically. Whether or not the context infringes upom the art… Some I actually find to be more of a clever conversation in this new way of viewing.

What about you!?

You can view more at Great Art In Ugly Rooms.  xoxo Dana



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