Finding the right art gifts for the contemporary art lover on your list is rarely straightforward. But on the Wallpaper* arts desk, we’ve thought outside the art gift box with ideas suitable for every niche, mood and occasion. 

Art gifts to frame, wear or amuse

Buckle up for John Armleder’s mind-bending belt 

Bespoke leather brand J.Hopenstand has teamed up with Swiss artist John Armleder for a brainy collaboration. Armleder – known for radical work in performance, drawing, sculpture and painting – drew on his so-called ‘supermarket of shapes’ mined from memory for his belt design, titled Loasaceae. Fitting, then, that the motif Armleder selected for his design is a silver brain – or possibly a walnut, depending on your perspective or tastes. Project A was conceived six years ago by brothers Rémi and Renaud Defrancesco, as a tribute to their great grandfather, Jacques Hopenstand. Blending art and artisanship, contemporary artists are given carte blanche to create a belt buckle produced in 20 signed and numbered editions which are launched at Art Basel

Adorn your walls with design nostalgia from Herman Miller 

Herman Miller nostalgic vintage graphic design posters - contemporary art gifts for 2021

For decades, furniture brand Herman Miller has cemented itself as an industry leader, with universally recognised pieces including the ‘Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman’. Lesser known, but no less iconic, are its graphics and advertisements, serving as brand nostalgia for design lovers around the world. For the first time, Herman Miller has launched a 15-print collection of archival posters by designers and illustrators, which are ideal for art gifts. Featured creatives include George Nelson & Associates, Armin Hofmann, Phillip Mitchell, Steve Frykholm, Irving Harper, and Linda Powell. 

We’re art-struck by Hauser & Wirth’s inventive gift offerings 

Not vital house to watch the sunset ring best art gifts
Not Vital, House to Watch the Sunset ring. Edition of 10, £950 each 

When it comes to inventive contemporary art gifts, we’re all pretty art-struck by Hauser & Wirth gallery’s seasonal offerings. Who knew that Not Vital’s House to Watch the Sunset could make for such a striking ring, or that a scene from Piet Oudolf’s colour-drenched meadow at Hauser & Wirth Somerset could make such a statement on a silk scarf? Elsewhere, a Louise Bourgeois’ blanket conveys a message of love and Rashid Johnson and Mark Bradford offer head-turning jewellery pieces. Other dispatches offered from Hauser & Wirth’s world-class roster include objects and editions by Lorna Simpson, Mary Heilmann and Bharti Kher. The gallery’s much-anticipated Marcel Duchamp book is hot off the press, a readymade art gift for any Duchamp devotee. 

Art dispatches from UK museum shops 

Langlands & Bell, Apple Sunny Vale, 2018. Giclée print, 36 x 36 cm. Edition of 40, signed and numbered, contemporary art gifts for 2021
Langlands & Bell, Apple Sunny Vale, 2018. Giclée print, 36 x 36 cm. Edition of 40, signed and numbered

This season, art museum shops are serving up a number of creative treats you had no idea you needed, until now. At Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, products include limited-edition screenprints from Langlands & Bell and Nancy Spero and T-shirts by British artists Jeremy Deller and Osman Yousefzada (who recently unveiled the new Selfridges façade). Elsewhere, in the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art gift shop, in Gateshead, nothing screams affection more than a mug that reads ‘Sorry I fell asleep whilst you were talking?’, courtesy of artist and wordsmith David Shrigley

Art gifts to set the table 

Start the conversation with Judy Chicago’s head-turning dinner plate

Judy Chicago’s ‘Bigamy Hood’ dinner plate, $195 each. Images courtest of Prospect art gift ideas

As dinner party conversation starters go, Judy Chicago’s ‘Bigamy Hood’ dinner plate could be up there with the most gripping. Available from Prospect at $195 each, the bone china plate depicts one of the feminist art trailblazer’s earliest works, created in ‘macho’ automotive lacquer sprayed onto a car hood. Much like Chicago’s iconic installation The Dinner Party, Bigamy Hood was once greeted with derision, but now embodies her epic contribution to the evolution of feminist art. Art gifts also available from Prospect – the New York-based company known for top-tier art collaborations – are vibrant straws by Micha Kahn, and striking candles by Bonam Kim. 

Mona Hatoum blends art and coffee for illy

Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum is the latest creative to put her stamp on the illy Art Collection, which includes limited-edition espresso cups, cappuccino cups and matching decorated cans. Known for her poetic and political installations, Hatoum sought to create a ‘100 per cent Arab object or symbol’ for illy’s 100 per cent Arabica blend. ‘The keffiyeh came to mind, as I have often referred to it in my work, either directly or indirectly,’ she says. ‘The fishnet pattern with knots is often seen as the joining of hands and therefore symbolises the connection between people.’ Since 1992, illy has welcomed leading artists to design collections, including Marina Abramović, Louise Bourgeois and Ai Weiwei. Mona Hatoum’s collection launched at Frieze London 2021 and is available from early December. 

Art gifts for the problem solver

Own your very own piece(s) of KAWS art 

This season, the MoMA Design Store has launched four playful puzzles by American artist KAWS. They each feature original artwork: The Things That Comfort, Take, Together, and Share. Over two decades, the artist has crafted an instantly recognisable aesthetic, blending the worlds of art and design to include paintings, murals, graphic and product design, street art, and large-scale sculptures. The MoMA puzzles feature the artist’s distinctive figurative characters and motifs and are available in 100 or 1,000 pieces, from £19.99, perfect for art gifts, or a bit of personal downtime. 

Get the bigger picture with emerging art jigsaw puzzles

Kinstler Puzzles, Simone Johnson, Bodega Cat With Fruits and Vegetables. Courtesy of Kinstler Puzzles. best contemporary art gifts
Kinstler Puzzles, Simone Johnson, Bodega Cat With Fruits and Vegetables. Courtesy of Kinstler Puzzles

As illustrated above, the world of art puzzles is often reserved for the work of big-name artists. New Brooklyn-based brand Kinstler is seeking to shake up this well-trodden path. Founder Rami Metal has launched the brand with puzzles that spotlight work by three emerging artists engaging with contemporary issues: Simone Johnson, Andrea Joyce Heimer and Rusudan Khizanishvili. Each puzzle comes with an insert including information about the artist, alongside an interview about the artwork featured. $34 each

For the creator 

Share your thoughts in Aïda Muluneh’s vivid notebook for the Moleskine Foundation

Artist Edition Series Notebook, featuring The Past, the Present and the Future, by Aïda Muluneh for the Moleskine Foundation, best art gifts
Artist Edition Series Notebook, featuring The Past, the Present and the Future, by Aïda Muluneh for the Moleskine Foundation, high quality digital print on Moleskine notebook, 2021. Photographer: Ambra Crociani; Art Direction and Production: Studio Pesca

Moleskine Foundation has collaborated with acclaimed Ethiopian artist Aïda Muluneh for the first in its Artist Edition Series Notebook initiative. Created in a limited series of 100 pieces and available via Artsy, the notebook depicts Muluneh’s artwork The Past, the Present and the Future. Known for vivid imagery of female subjects set against bold, graphic backdrops, Muluneh’s work explores inequality, immigration, prejudice, orthodoxy, ethics and gender in post-colonial Africa. This piece, as the artist describes, is ‘dedicated to Ethiopia’. 100 per cent of sales profits will support the Moleskine Foundation’s programmes which aim to expand creative potential in young people from marginalised communities.

Add colour to Sarah Sze’s cosmological universe

Image courtesy Gagosian

Back in 2020, artist Sarah Sze took AR to Fondation Cartier, Paris exploring the shadowy spaces between physical and digital worlds for her show ‘Night into Day’. This colouring book was created by the artist and her two daughters in conjunction with the exhibition and offers readers the chance to make their own mark in Sze’s cosmological universe which straddles real and imaginary. The bilingual book in French and English features line drawings of Sze’s artworks to colour in, alongside a narrative story about an imaginative young girl named Camille.

Show your true colours with RxART’s art gift for good 

Image credit: Shana Novak

When it comes to art gifts for the greater good, look no further than RxART’s colouring book, Between the Lines, produced biennially to donate to children in hospitals. Volume eight is headlined with a cover and sticker spread by artist Derrick Adams. The artist’s optimistic pool floaties correspond with details found in his RxART installation at NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem’s paediatric emergency department, which was completed in the fall of 2020. This volume also includes work by 50 international artists, among them Rachel Jones, Elizabeth Neel, Liza Lou, and Arcmanoro Niles.

Rewrite art history with Caran d’Ache’s sustainable drawing pencils

In a different coffee-related vein, luxury Swiss art materials manufacturer Caran d’Ache has once again teamed up with Nespresso to offer new life to used coffee capsules. The Caran d’Ache x Nespresso Fixpencil and graphite pencil set follow on from an earlier collaboration with the coffee brand, which involved a planet-friendly reimagining of the iconic Ballpoint Pen 849. The mechanical Fixpencil, made in the signature ochre of Nespresso’s Cape Town Envivo Lungo capsules, includes graphite lead made from 25 per cent coffee grounds, the ideal art gift for the practically minded. §