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From Home Furnishing Business

RH Delves into Art with Journal

Restoration Hardware will unveil a quarterly art magazine next week called RH Contemporary Art Journal. The retailer is not a newcomer when it comes to publishing. Have you seen the home furnishings retailer's catalogs?

The home furnishings giant Restoration Hardware — or rather, RH, as it was rebranded in 2012 — may bring to mind ecru linen sofas and distressed steamer trunks. But under the lead of co-C.E.O. Gary Friedman, the company is muscling its way into the business of contemporary art. On Nov. 9, it will also become a publisher, with a quarterly called RH Contemporary Art Journal that will be available for free to visitors of its new wood-beamed art gallery on West 16th Street. The debut issue is a glossy, minimalist affair that feels rather like an exhibition catalog, except for the heartfelt introductory letter from Friedman. (Fans of Restoration Hardware’s “source books” will recognize his favored sign-off — “Carpe Diem, Gary.”) Both ventures are part of RH Contemporary Art, a platform that also includes documentaries, artist residencies and a web emporium, all aimed at selling creations by the artists it works with (who currently number about 50).

Collectors might notice surprising corporate tones to RH Contemporary’s approach. (All artworks, for instance, will be covered by a return policy — virtually unheard of in the art world.) Despite sharing an acronym with its home-décor sibling, RH is downplaying the connection. According to Friedman, RH Contemporary artworks won’t appear with RH furniture in ad campaigns. The Chelsea gallery has an Adrian Pearsall marble table in its office and vintage armchairs from 1stdibs in its viewing rooms, but little from RH. Why the divide? “Look, art clearly goes in people’s homes,” Friedman says. “But great art can stand alone, and shouldn’t be confused with decoration.”


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Source: T Magazine 

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