Contemporary framing: its history and aesthetics

by leslierankowfinearts

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THE ACQUISITION OF A WORK OF ART  BY A COLLECTOR IS A PROCESS OF SELECTION IN ITS MANY ASPECTS.  FIRST OF ALL,  AN ARTIST OR MEDIUM OR STYLE DICTATES THE INITIAL PREFERENCES, WHETHER THE SOURCE IS AUCTION, GALLERY, PRIVATE DEALER OR ART FAIR. AFTER IDENTIFYING SPECIFIC WORKS OF INTEREST, THE NARROWING DOWN OF CHOICES BEGINS. SOME CONCERNS INCLUDE THE WORK’S CONDITION AND PROVENANCE, OTHER CONCERNS ARE, OF COURSE, VALUE AND PRICE, AND OF PRIMARY INTEREST TO ME, HOW THE WORK ENRICHES AN EXISTING COLLECTION, GIVES IT AN ENERGY OR ELEMENT THAT IS MISSING OR UNDER WEIGHTED  OR MOVES THE COLLECTION UPWARD TO ANOTHER LEVEL.  THE EASY PART AND A VERY ENJOYABLE ONE IS  THE SELECTION OF THE PERFECT FRAME TO COMPLEMENT, ENHANCE AND NOT OVERPOWER OR DISTRACT FROM  THE WORK OF ART. THAT IS WHEN MINAGAWA ART LINES STEPS TO THE FORE WITH THEIR EXPERTISE, HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE.

UPON PURCHASE, THE WORK IS TRANSPORTED TO MINAGAWA ART LINES, LOCATED IN CHELSEA, AT 210 ELEVENTH AVENUE (BETWEEN 25/26th STREETS), (email: office@minagawaartlines.com), A SMALL BUT IMPECCABLY ORGANIZED SHOWROOM WITH DRAWERS OF FRAME PROFILES AND MAT OPTIONS.  THERE IS ALWAYS SOME WONDERFUL ARTWORKS  RESTING ON THE TABLE OR FLOOR TO ADMIRE AND ASK ABOUT.  YASUO MINAGAWA IS A SEASONED PROFESSIONAL, ESTABLISHING A BUSINESS THAT INITIALLY PROVIDED FRAMING SERVICES FOR FELLOW ARTISTS IN THE EARLY 80s, THAT QUICKLY GREW INTO A THRIVING ENTERPRISE SUPPORTED BY THE MOST DISCERNING GALLERISTS, COLLECTORS AND DEALERS.

I AM DELIGHTED THAT YASUO, AND HIS ASSOCIATE, YUKO, HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO INFORM US OF THE WORKINGS OF MINAGAWA ART LINES IN THE LRFA BLOG.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE AESTHETIC CRITERIA IN SELECTING FRAMES FOR CONTEMPORARY WORKS? DO YOU SENSE A DIFFERENCE IN THE AESTHETIC CHOICES THAT DESIGNERS, COLLECTORS AND ARTISTS MAKE WHEN SELECTING FRAMES AND, IF SO, HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE THESE DIFFERENCES?

The frames should be designed according to the artwork, structurally, and aesthetically.  Frames should not be made within the designs of an interior because it may need to be changed when the framed work moves to another room or house.

IMG_1043 freeman

HOW DOES THE INCLUSION OF A GREAT DEAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY, INSTALLATION ART and OTHER NON-TRADITIONAL ARTWORKS IMPACT ON THE FRAMING BUSINESS?

Photographic work on artificial paper is a delicate thing to work with. In the 80s and 90s, Polaroids and Cibachrome photographs were very difficult to handle. They do not exist anymore but there are always new materials developed in the market. Testing is always required. There doesn’t seem to be much need for framing for installation artwork. Installation artists seem to love to make everything by themselves.

WHAT WAS THE MOST INTERESTING FRAME YOU DESIGNED FOR A WORK AND WHY?

I made a large frame for a Basquiat work on paper which needed to assembled on site in Connecticut. Because of the large size and size restrictions of the space, the frame was made in three parts, pre-fitted at my studio. Then shipped to Connecticut. The job took all day to assemble the frame, fit the artwork and eight people to hang the frame onto a reinforced wall.

WHAT PROFILES HAVE YOU DEVELOPED TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE HISTORY OF CONTEMPORARY FRAMING?

I’ve never made an originally designed frame. It is always a modified version or archetype of an existing frame or design. 

NEW MATERIALS ARE ALWAYS BEING DEVELOPED, PARTICULARLY IN TERMS OF GLAZING.  IT IS VERY GRATIFYING THAT WORKS ON PAPER CAN NOW BE DISPLAYED WITH PROTECTIVE GLAZING THAT DOES NOT CREATE A REFLECTIVE WALL BETWEEN THE VIEWER AND THE WORK. IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, YASUO WILL INFORM US OF THE SOME OF THE WONDERFUL NEW MATERIALS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO FURTHER ENHANCE THE WORK OF ART.

I WELCOME ALL COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS AND ENCOURAGE A DIALOGUE.  PLEASE CONTRIBUTE!