Growth & Change:

Russell Collection and West Chelsea Contemporary

In 2002 Russell Collection opened its doors in the Arboretum as the only fine art gallery in Austin to exhibit Modern Masters. From Henri Matisse to Salvador Dalí, my gallery has proudly offered exceptional art from the market’s biggest names – artists whose work was typically only found in museums.

Even with loyal collectors and incredible art, the odds have not always been in our favor – as many of you know, the art world is never boring. Two stolen Picassos, an economic recession and now one pandemic later, I am honored and excited to share the next step in my collection’s evolution as we remodel and rebrand the gallery.

As many of you have noticed our new name is West Chelsea Contemporary (and yes I am still a very large part of the gallery). Our goal is to provide a fun and approachable way for you to experience and collect art.  Our evolved artist roster includes those whom we feel are pivotal in the current contemporary art market and that of the last 50 years.

West Chelsea Contemporary will be now offering works by Banksy, Alex Katz, Damien Hirst, KAWS, Takashi Murakami, and Andy Warhol, among other iconic players worthy of your collection. Excitedly, we will continue to represent familiar names from Russell Collection such as Ash Almonte, Hayley Mitchell, Cody Hooper, Gil Bruvel, Hunt Slonem, Joan, Miro, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali and more.

In addition to our West Chelsea Contemporary name change, we have undertaken a huge remodel of our downtown location and are slated to reopen our doors in mid October with our Opening Exhibit of Concrete to Canvas featuring Basquiat, KAWS, RETNA, Keith Haring, JonOne, and more.

For a sneak peek of what we have in store for you, please come visit us at our West Chelsea Contemporary Pop-Up @ Domain Northside on Rock Rose in Austin.

I look forward to seeing all of you, our valued clients, soon at West Chelsea Contemporary (formerly Russell Collection).

~Lisa Russell, President & Gallery Owner – West Chelsea Contemporary

By |September 23rd, 2020|Categories: Diary, What's New|Comments Off on Growth & Change: Russell Collection and West Chelsea Contemporary

Art for Everyone: Warhol to Murakami

West Chelsea Contemporary is proud to inclusively offer art for everyone.  From the enthusiast to the veteran collector, there are pieces for intrigue, investment, and aesthetic.

Artists like Andy Warhol first championed the bridge between high and low art through his repetition of commercialized iconography–the unforgettable Campbell’s Soup Cans, Marilyn Monroe, and the like.  From the 60s onward, art became a reflection of consumer culture, and consumer culture began to respond in droves.  To date, Andy Warhol is one of the most recognizable artists to the eye and unquestionably drives international interest in the relationship between what we buy, why we buy–but perhaps most critically, who buys.

Thereafter, artists like Keith Haring and Jeff Koons further developed the bridge between a critical reflection on mass production and the vehicle of mass consumption.  Haring used his art and internationally recognized style to raise awareness about AIDS and end the stigma around its presence in queer culture and beyond.  In this way, popular artists were able to both profit from commercial and popular culture while also using it as a vehicle of expression.

In today’s art market, artists like Takashi Murakami represent the kind of neo-pop artists that have taken the torch from innovators like Warhol in an ever-evolving socio-economic landscape.  With accessible and identifiable tropes, Murakami is once again globally recognized for his play of life and death in flowers and skulls.  Moreover, his collaboration with musicians, fashion, and animation renders the entirety of his work accessible to nearly anyone.  At West Chelsea Contemporary, you’ll find examples of high value investment pieces as well as accessible sculptures, prints, and collectibles.  It’s no longer simply quoting commercial culture that defines the popularization of art and artists, but rather the ability to be accessed by a myriad and wide variety of collectors, both beginning and experienced.

In this vein, West Chelsea Contemporary is a vital part of the conversation inviting inclusivity into the art market.  Within our walls, you can expect to witness and acquire some of the world’s leading contemporary artists, receive a thoughtful educational experience, and find a new addition to your collection that falls within your means.  Your instinct in art is beautiful.  We’re here to celebrate and cultivate it, with you.

Allee Beatty, Art Consultant | allee@wcc.art

By |September 8th, 2020|Categories: Diary, What's New|Comments Off on Art for Everyone: Warhol to Murakami

New Acquisitions: The Connor Brothers

New Acquisitions – the name of our current exhibition – is purposefully vague, it lets the show’s roster speak for itself. Alex Katz. Takashi Murakami. Robert Indiana. Each artist is completely different in style, but their oeuvres are bound by a lasting impact on the international contemporary art market from Indiana’s iconic LOVE to Murakami’s Mr. DOB. Exhibited together for the first time, works by these art stars are available online, by private appointment, and at our new pop-up in the Domain Northside on Rock Rose. Recently acquired works also include pieces by two sets of duos: Australian-born couple DabsMyla and LA-based The Connor Brothers. Read on for a deep dive into the secretive beginnings of LA’s favorite brothers. 

If you find yourself reading The Connor Brothers bio on their website you would learn that the twin brothers, Franklyn and Brendan Connor, were brought up in an odd environment – a controversial cult that had complete control over the access to the outside world. At 16 the boys ran away, hitched a ride on a few freight trains and settled in the big apple. The twins “developed a system whereby each of them would read, watch and discover things independently and then share them with one another via a series of notebooks and sketchpads. This interaction developed into making art together, a process they describe as ‘trying to make sense of the world.’ Their often humorous work is steeped in references to both historical and popular culture and presents an almost anthropological view of contemporary western society.”

And now we spill the tea.

Their entire backstory is fabricated, false, fiction, fake! The so-called brothers are not related but instead met as London art dealers. Their names? Mike Snelle and James Golding. Their joint body of work reflects an interest in fiction, both the genre of writing and the falsehood it implies. One might assume that the duo decided to push the art’s meaning and concept further with a made-up background. In reality their constructed personas were crafted to cover-up their true stories and prevent the anticipated shame they believed they’d endure if scrutinized publicly. Here at West Chelsea Contemporary, we love the unrelated brothers works and find that their convoluted beginnings add to the intrigue and aloof quality found throughout their paintings and prints. The artists have become known for nonchalant phrasing layered over old school imagery. High-brow meme culture. Whether the characters are born from old Hollywood glam, old Westerns, or the grimy settings found in film noir, each work captures a movement or moment, including the viewer in the fictitious person’s private thoughts. 

Schedule a private appointment to view these work’s in person with one of our art consultants. We’re open Monday through Saturday 11 to 7 and Sunday 12 to 6 at our Pop-Up @ Domain Northside.

By |August 21st, 2020|Categories: What's New|Comments Off on New Acquisitions: The Connor Brothers

Ray Phillips

The Market: Shop Local

Ash Almonte

Cody Hooper

Hayley Mitchell

Gil Bruvel

Known for its local haunts, enviable food scene and of course the musically inclined, Austin is home to the ultimate ‘local’ culture. With residents quick to claim their status and outsiders eager to visit, are we even surprised that new transplants continue to arrive every day?

Check out our top local artists from in and around the Texas capital. Support Austin artists and shop local.

| Ash Almonte |

Ash Almonte’s work makes reference to the energizing movement found within abstract expressionism. “It is more about the execution, than the final product. I enjoy the process of making art more than the product” says Ash. 

| Cody Hooper | 

Cody Hooper covers panels with oil and acrylic, experimenting in composition and texture. He entices the viewer to explore an unknown. Hooper is deeply interested in the effects of color, texture and the emotional response to strong composition and design. By removing the representational, he tells stories without subject matter solely through abstracted juxtapositions.

| Hayley Mitchell | 

Hayley Mitchell is known for her vibrant, abstracted figures – inspired by Cubism and Post-Impressionism. Captivated by intricate design found throughout international cultures, Mitchell creates bold pieces that make a statement in any home. She paints daily in her home studio located in the Texas capital.⠀

| Gil Bruvel | 

Australian-born/ France-raised/ Texas-based artist Gil Bruvel’s interdisciplinary body of work draws from Surrealism’s fantastical feel and imagined dreamscapes. His art emerges from a deep contemplation of images, emotions, and sensations, which he refines continually before he casts them into material form.

| Katherine Houston | 

A native Houstonian, Katherine Houston has spent the majority of her life in the Houston area. She began her career as an investment broker in the late ’70s, leaving in the late ’80s to begin a family. Katherine has devoted much of the past 20 years to studying and producing art. 

| Brad Ellis | 

Brad Ellis, an abstract painter living and working in Dallas, Texas, creates mixed media paintings that involve encaustic, oil, acrylic and collage elements. Texture, surface treatments and color are very important aspects of his work in order for each painting to have a profound and compelling presence.

| Maxine Price | 

Maxine Price received her BFA degree in Art from the University of Texas at Austin and over her career has pursued various aspects of art including being a book designer, a fashion illustrator, an interior designer, a graphic artist, a portrait artist and a painter showing in numerous galleries and juried shows in the Southwestern United States.

| Ray Phillips | 

Artist, Ray Phillips has always held a passion for creating art. Ray’s work has evolved into an amalgam of typography, abstract composition, collage/ mixed media and hidden secrets. Ray’s work is as much an intellectual pursuit as creative endeavor, as evident when he speaks about his work. “Enough is never enough. Each piece is like a series of small battles – something to overcome in anongoing effort to please myself. The creative process is sometimes very exhausting, unlike the interpretation some have that it’s always therapeutic with ideas just flying onto the canvas”.

shop local now. request an appointment by emailing sales@russell-collection.com or calling/texting 512.478.4440.

Katherine Houston

Maxine Price

Brad Ellis

By |July 27th, 2020|Categories: What's New|Comments Off on The Market: Shop Local

The Prints Market: Top Reasons to Collect Editions

Would you rather buy an original print or an original painting? Without hesitation most people would answer with the latter but read on to understand why prints are highly collectible, original works desirable in their own right.

Misconception: Prints are copies of a unique work.

Reason 1 | Prints are distinct works and an important part of an artist’s oeuvre.

Whether making screenprints, lithographs, woodcuts or etchings, artists are drawn to the medium of printmaking for a variety of reasons. Prints afford the unique opportunity for experimentation and collaboration while also offering exciting new ways to break artmaking down to its building blocks.

Misconception: Prints, and works on paper, do not last as long as paintings or sculpture.

Reason 2 | Prints offer long-term value with proper framing and care.

Prints do require some preventative measures to keep them in good condition such as UV-filtered glass and archival mounting materials. This is easily handled in the framing process and requires very little consideration afterwards. Keep the piece in a stable environment and it will remain in excellent condition.

Misconception: A great collection consists of paintings and sculpture.

Reason 3 | Prints provide an accessible entry point to build a comprehensive collection.

Prints are usually smaller in physical size and typically less expensive than paintings or sculpture by the same artist. If a collector is seeking a specific movement, or notable name, for their collection, prints increase the range of possibilities. First-time buyers may look to prints as an attainable option for obtaining an original work. Like other media, value is determined by rarity, technique, complexity and composition.

Misconception: Lower numbers within an edition are better than higher ones.

Reason 4 | Prints are highly collectible whether it’s the first of the edition or the last.

While edition size affects value, the specific number within the series does not. Lower does not equal better. This outdated idea, stemming from historical printmaking techniques, might have been true in the past when soft metals such as copper caused diminished imagery during the printing process but in today’s Contemporary Prints market it is not a factor. Additionally some editions are not even numbered in the order they were made, further proof of the point.

Misconception: A print without a number or signature has no value.

Reason 5 | Prints make Blue Chip art attainable at a variety of price points.

Even at the age of 92 Alex Katz signs all of his prints that are published by Lococo Fine Art, other artists are not as diligent. Even without a signature, or a specific number from within the edition, prints can fetch high prices or offer collectors a chance to purchase from top names. Available now at Russell are a variety of unsigned, unnumbered Andy Warhol silkscreens that include both the publisher’s and printer’s stamps. A signed Warhol screenprint at auction would realize over 100K.

shop prints now. request an appointment by emailing sales@russell-collection.com or calling 512.478.4440.

By |July 12th, 2020|Categories: What's New|Comments Off on The Prints Market: Top Reasons to Collect Editions

The Edit:
How to Hang ~ a Step-by-Step guide ~

The where has been picked and the what has been chosen, all that remains is the how. Installing art may seem best left to the professionals, but our easy to follow how-to provides a step-by-step guide to hanging your latest purchase. On most walls, and in most museums, artwork is hung at eye-level – a vague and arbitrary statement when considering we all differ in height. Translated to a measurable unit, the midpoint of your piece should be around 58 inches. Use our guide below for hanging best practice whether the work is displayed with a wire hanger. All you need is a measuring tape, pencil, hammer, and 1-2 nails.

A vibrant blue Alberto Murillo installed last week in a client’s home on a curved wall.

Hunt Slonem (b. 1951), Cobalt, 2017, 30 x 40 inches, Oil and Acrylic with Diamond Dust on Canvas. Price on request. Primary Market.

Wire Hanger:

Quite literally a wire used to hang. A single wire is attached to both sides of the back of the piece, hung from one nail in the wall.

  1. Measure the distance between the wire at full tension (B) and the top of the frame (A). See image above.
  2. Measure the height of your frame (C) and divide the result in half.
  3. From the floor, measure up the wall to 58″ (average eye-level) and make a pencil mark.
  4. From the mark, measure upward the distance recorded in step 2 and make a second light pencil mark (E).
  5. From this mark, measure downward the distance recorded in step 1 (D).
  6. Place nail and hanger here. Make sure that the bottom of your hanger is resting on the line when you hammer your nail in, rather than the nail point. This is where your wire will rest (on the crook of the hanger).
  7. Rest easy and enjoy your piece.
  8. Still stumped or hanging in a tricky spot? We do installation too – schedule our Logistics Manager Ignacio for a home visit by contacting us at (512) 478-4440.
By |June 30th, 2020|Categories: What's New|Comments Off on The Edit: How to Hang ~ a Step-by-Step guide ~

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