Finding the right art gifts for the contemporary art lover in your life 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 – even those prone to a spot of self-gifting. 

Explore our pick of creative treats you had no idea you needed, until now.

Ed Ruscha creates a new silk scarf to support (RED)

(RED), the organisation created by U2 frontman Bono and activist Bobby Shriver in 2006 to rally people and businesses to help end AIDS, has now expanded to help communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, acclaimed American artist Ed Ruscha and Gagosian gallery have teamed up to support (RED) with new a silk twill scarf featuring Ruscha’s iconic text-based work, set against a scene of silhouetted trees in a field of glowing red. The artist first created Science Is Truth Found Out in 1986 inspired by a phrase he saw inscribed in stone above the entrance to the science block of Los Angeles’s storied Hollywood High School. Produced in a limited edition of 500, each is signed and numbered and available for $1,200 each. The scarf is now on presale for 100% of proceeds will go to (RED). 

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 

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.

Gritty concrete meets sleek metallic finishes in Minimalux’s new series, inspired by bygone technology

Minimalux 2022
Common Parts additions to Minimalux’s Editions series. Prices range from £500-1500. Photography: Minimalux 2022

Minimalux has launched a new six-part series of curious and playful artworks titled Common Parts created by the brand’s co-founder and creative director, Mark Holmes. The series juxtaposes gritty concrete bricks with brass, aluminium and stainless steel details, transforming each slab into a reference to 20th-century milestones in electronic design. Absent of a practical function, the artworks boldly mimic the low price point-and-shoot cameras made by Kodak in the 1960s and share cubic characteristics with Motorola’s revolutionary portable telephone. These pieces – which neither point or shoot – sit more comfortably displayed as artistic domestic features than they would in a back pocket. Along with the ‘Mobile’ and ‘Instamatic’, the six-part release – also on display in an online exhibition – includes the Phonograph, Transistor, Super 8 and Projector, all with distinct winks to past technological revolutions.

A new platform for affordable, curated art

Miles Huston, Verse, Fred, detail, platform best art gifts
Miles Huston, Verse, Fred, detail, 2019, 33 x 33, colored pencil on paper, Courtesy Gordon Robichaux, NY. Photography: Ryan Page 

Backed by David Zwirner, Platform was founded to create an authoritative destination to make it simple to buy great art. In the run up to Christmas 2021, Platform has launched three limited-edition prints by Canadian artist Marcel Dzama. This forms part of the initiative’s monthly selection of contemporary artworks from sought-after emerging artists. Also on offer this season are patterned pencil works by Miles Huston and intricate silk pieces by Azadeh Gholizadeh.

Art dispatches from gallery and museum shops 

Hauser & Wirth

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 frequently art-struck by Hauser & Wirth’s 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 the gallery’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.

Ikon Gallery

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

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).

The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art 

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

Reach creative enlightenment with Marina Abramović

Lady Gaga and Jay-Z are among those who have followed the Abramović Method to reach higher creative consciousness. From 10 Feburary, the artist’s iconic approach will be available in a set of 30 instruction cards published by Laurence King. The Serbian artist and titan of performance art has spent the last half-century stretching the human body to breaking point, offering herself as an object of experimentation for audiences, and eroding the seal between body and soul. So what’s on the cards? For starters, you might try ‘complaining to a tree’, in which you ‘Choose a tree you like. Put your arms around the tree. Complain to the tree’, for 15 minutes. If tree-hugging isn’t your jam, perhaps you could try ‘holding a mutual gaze’ with a willing partner? If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

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.

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. §