It was one of those, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” moments.
I slid the tall metal shelves located in the back of the WAM Shop back and forth, exploring a wide variety of artwork. The art rental program allows University of Minnesota students, employees, and departments to pick out, rent, and hang original framed pieces in their homes and offices. Students pay only $15 per piece per semester.
Because of the large selection, it seems that the WAM Shop houses its own small gallery within the larger museum. As I scanned the movable metal walls of artwork, I was impressed by the variety of mediums and styles the artworks portrayed. There was a piece for everyone to enjoy, whether it was a small watercolor painting, modern acrylic piece, or a graphic poster.
Two pieces immediately grabbed my attention, starting with Jean Jacques Gut’s Les Deux Portugaises (1963). This piece reminded me of one painting in Paul Cézanne’s series, Bathers, located in the Chicago Art Institute. The quick, vertical brush strokes in both paintings provided movement to the figures in the piece. The two single silhouettes in Gut’s piece seemingly floated in the foreground and gave the piece simplicity, which was refreshing against the saturated, almost Matisse-like color palette. I found myself imagining this piece hanging on the wall inside my room, and how inspired I would be every morning to wake up to such vibrant art.
Secondly, a watercolor by Alvin Meyer, Untitled, caught my eye because of its subject matter. The small, waterfront cottage looked exactly like the beach cottages lining the sand in Newport Coast, California—one of my favorite places to go near my hometown, Orange, California. The small cottages are located in Crystal Cove by the Beachcomber restaurant, and are reminiscent of a much simpler time in Southern California’s history. Every time I see the simple cottages and walk the shoreline in Crystal Cove, it is like a breath of fresh air and I feel a sensation of renewal. As much as I adore Minnesota, I have realized how much I am in love with the ocean. It provides a feeling contentment I yearn for everyday.
These pieces spoke to me, and some reminded me of the special people in my life. A simple design reminded me of one person, and a certain shade of blue reminded me of another. How cool would it be to give friends and family temporary ownership of an artwork that reminds you of them?
Gift cards can be purchased in the WAM Shop and used to rent art. So with the holidays around the corner, I am excited to give the gift of art to the people I value most.