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The Art of Living

Text by Claudia SteinbergAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Claudia Steinberg
Photographed by Barbel MiebachAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Barbel Miebach

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To artists and designers, a home is a canvas on which they can project themselves, a testing ground for creative impulses, a place to display the objects that inspire them, a venue for experimentation with forms and materials that later appear in their own work. In this unique volume, photographer Bärbel Miebach captures the unique spirit of the private living quarters of twenty-five internationally known figures including Ellsworth Kelly, Catherine Malandrino, Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, Andres Serrano, Hunt Slonem, Vivienne Tam, and Andrea Zittel.

From self-designed, floor-to-ceiling trompe l'oeil tile in quirky color combinations to renovations of urban lofts as Japanese farmhouses to pristine all-white spaces, sixteenth-century cathedrals, and a bold apartment that takes design cues and motifs directly from the vibrant colors and brash metallic forms of the inhabitant's own artwork, each of the featured homes provides an inside look at the personalities behind these unconventional dwellings. Equally intriguing are homes of artists and gallery owners who have spent a lifetime collecting works by artistic friends, priceless examples of art and furniture from a favorite period, or artifacts from far-flung continents during their own wide-ranging travels. Still other spaces reveal how the imaginations of architects are interpreted in black concrete, copper, zinc, and brightly painted plywood when they turn their energies to designing houses for themselves and their families.

Over 200 color images reveal a wealth of unique, personal approaches to the challenge of incorporating creative space into a home. Of interest to anyone who has wondered what the living rooms and studios of famous artists might contain, what objects inspire them, and what inventive solutions they devise to create expressive personal spaces in a domestic atmosphere, The Art of Living provides a colorful, varied look at a group of diverse artistic individuals who live and work in homes from New York and the Hamptons to Los Angeles and the Mojave Desert.



As my ten-year anniversary of living and working in the United States approached, I began to feel nostalgic. I thought about the diverse, wonderful people I have photographed and the artistic environments they have built for themselves, and that became the spark of inspiration for this book.
The Art of Living introduces you to twenty-five unique homes; the book also tells twenty-five individual stories about their occupants. Artists, fashion designers, gallery owners, collectors, and one resourceful farmer express their personalities, idiosyncrasies, and creativity through their surroundings. I feel fortunate to have met them. They have inspired my own work and enriched my life.

I felt honored to spend a day with Ellsworth Kelly in Spencertown, New York. I learned so much about his work and his aesthetic. His partner prepared a delicious lunch, and we drank Ellsworth's favorite wine, Pouilly-Fuissé, while he reminisced about his time in Paris.

The fashion designer Catherine Malandrino was at the beginning of her career when I first met her and her husband, Bernard Aiden. At that time, I was fascinated by her eclectic mix of French bohemian elegance and urban New York chic, and to this day I continue to adore her.

Randolph Duke's house in the Hollywood hills with its breathtaking view of Los Angeles, its modern aesthetic, and unbelievably pleasant quality of life instantly became my dream home. When all the sliding glass doors were opened, I felt close to nature. While I was taking pictures I thought about how much I would love to live in a place like his.

Most surprising was my visit to the home of the artist Andres Serrano. His triplex in the West Village is filled with religious artifacts. Looking at the crucifixes, statues of saints, and pews all around me, I felt I had stepped into a medieval church in the center of Manhattan. It was an unsettling feeling that made me want to bring the photo shoot to an end quickly. When I returned for another shoot later, I came to understand the artist's personal reasons for having become such an obsessive collector. Today Andres Serrano is one of my best friends. I love him dearly.

I am profoundly grateful for the time I have spent in the U.S. and for the people I have met. They opened their homes to me and let me photograph their worlds. I cherish these experiences and hope to give you the same sense of wonder and admiration I felt when seeing these homes for the first time.

—Bärbel Miebach

Table of Contents


Souvenirs from a Full Life Ingeborg ten Haeff

Serving at the Altar of Art Frank Faulkner

Serenity and Reflection David Ling

Effortless Elegance Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn

Playful Geometry Ellsworth Kelly

Artistry in the High Desert Andrea Zittel

Light Glides Through a Copper Shell Kathleen Triem and Peter Franck

A Japanese Farmhouse in Manhattan Paul Discoe and Ann Hatch

Life in a Treasure Chest Michael Hall

An Alchemy of Tender and Tough Vivienne Tam

The Past is Perfect Ruth Nivola

Into the Open Randolph Duke

Crazy for Color Phillip Maberry and Scott Walker

Modernism Lives Rebecca Quaytman and Jeff Preiss

Saints and Sinners Andres Serrano

Trouble in Paradise Robert Dash

Taking the Edge Off Fritz Haeg

A French Romance on the Hudson River Catherine Malandrino

Architecture Against Mortality Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins

A Spirited Victorian Hunt Slonem

Snow White and Pristine Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz

A Courageous Collaboration Barbara Gross

A Living Tradition Will Barnet

Master of All He Surveys Christopher Bortugno

Freedom High Above Los Angeles Bridget Vagedes and Timothy Krehbiel

  • The Art of Living by Photography by Barbel Miebach; Text by Claudia Steinberg
  • November 17, 2009
  • Architecture - Interior Design
  • The Monacelli Press
  • $65.00
  • 9781580932509

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