The Downfall of Art: An Interview with Seidman Gallery's Cathy Seidman

How it "became fashionable" to no longer have art in the home.

By Sterling Roberts

Having been in the art and framing business for 25 years, Cathy Seidman has witnessed the downfall of art.

Cathy, and her sister, Connie, own the Seidman Gallery in Culver City. When asked how she feels about the way art is going, Cathy replied that she was pessimistic. She claims that there are two sides of the downfall of art: when regular people began putting art in their homes and when the television took the place of art above the fireplace. As experts in decorating homes and corporate offices, the Seidman sisters have witnessed this change firsthand. Cathy explained that while there is still the 1% of people who buy expensive art, art in the home is just simply a bit different now.

When entering into a home to help frame pieces of art or mirrors, Cathy has found that in general, there isn't any art in the home. First, the television made its way above the fireplace, then walls became used for practical purposes, such as storage or to hang mirrors. Thus, there is no longer space for art in the home.

An example of this, Cathy explained, was when she entered into a home worth approximately 10 million dollars to help decorate. When she went in, what covered the walls? Mirrors. According to Cathy, there were about 15 mirrors on the walls and not a single piece of artwork.

How does she feel about the direction art is heading? Cathy is angry because while she can help customers frame their mirrors, she says that it "became fashionable" to not have art. There are reasons for this change, though. People have to make choices when decorating, contemplating what they like and how much they want a certain style or piece. For instance, when there is a large television in a room, people frame the rest of the room around the television. Because of this, art would be a distraction from the central piece: the TV.

While high end art is a booming industry, people are now able to have art for cheaper. Cathy explained that it is possible to print photos on cheap canvases, a process called giclée, leading to artists and companies to stop printing with a serigraph, which is printing on a silkscreen. Giclée is now taking over the market.

The Seidmans decorate individual's homes, but they also do a lot of corporate work. Approximately 75% of their work is decorating corporate buildings. Most of it consists of studios and entertainment companies, such as Warner Brothers, with much less work in the retail sector.

For Cathy, witnessing this shift away from art has been sad. While she enjoys decorating and framing, she misses seeing art in her clients' homes.


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