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With the news of Jeff Koons new mansion rising on the Upper East Side comes the tantalizing thought of what it would be like to hang out in some other superstar artists’ homes. Studios are cool and all, but the real fun would come with the art-installation living rooms and the nursery that looks more like a biomorphic amusement park. The possibilities are endless, though we wouldn’t want to be stuck at a Richard Serra tea party.

Rembrandt’s Amsterdam Digs

Rembrandt’s Amsterdam house (image from

Rembrandt was never the best of money-managers,  but doesn’t a certain free quality with cash make for the best real estate choices? The artist dropped a staggering 13,000 gilders (that’s a lot) on an Amsterdam townhouse in 1639, though he could only afford to pay it off in installments. Between 1652 and 1656 Rembrandt struggled to pay off the debts, but in the end couldn’t manage, and was forced to sell the house and settle for a rented apartment in the city. Annie Liebovitz, anyone? Rembrandt’s own art collection included much of the artist’s personal work, as well as a smattering of Dutch and Italian masters. The home came complete with a Wunderkammer, a kind of private museum to keep the many objects, paintings and artifacts the artist had collected over the years, perfect for a cocktail party conversation starter.

Da Vinci’s Chateau Amboise

Da Vinci’s residence at Chateau Amboise (image from

Leonardo’s final home was quite a doozy. Set out in the French countryside, Da Vinci’s residence Clos Lucé was connected to King Francis I’s home in the Chateau by an underground passage. Though the artist only lived there for the last three years of his life, he brought with him some fine samples of his work, including the Mona Lisa, a replica of which can be found in the dining room of Da Vinci’s residence. Has a certain charm, no? The plain structures of Chateau Amboise formed one of the initial outpourings of High Renaissance architecture in France, so Da Vinci must have been right at home.

Anselm Kiefer’s Bunker Collection

Anselm Kiefer’s studio (still from Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow, a documentary by Sophie Fiennes)

Trust an artist like neo-expressionist German painter wunderkind Anselm Kiefer to keep his studio in caves rather than a daylight-lit Berlin warehouse. The painter, sculptor and installation artist ages his massive paintings in underground chambers, a process that helps give the works their trademark patina. All we can say is that this would totally be better than any Bushwick warehouse parties.

Kara Walker’s Black and White Ballroom

Kara Walker, Darkytown Rebellion (2001) (image from

Kara Walker‘s interior decorating must have a lot going on, even if there aren’t a ton of colors involved. Imagine a full dress formal ball in a room decked out with the artist’s overtly political, minimal yet explicit drawings and projections? Kind of like an Yinka Shonibare video in real life. We’re not really sure if this exists or not, but it definitely should.

Yayoi Kusama’s Infinite Dot Fields

Yayoi Kusuma, “Dots Obsession” (2004) (image from

Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama really really has a thing for polka dots, and we hope her house isn’t any different. Judging from her spotted environments and her ability to cover absolutely anything in dotty patterns, we’d be pretty excited to hang out in a basement that looked like this. Especially if there were drugs involved. Because, you know, Gagosian doesn’t take kindly to people interacting with his psychadelic polka dot installations.

Kenny Scharf’s Cosmic Caverns

Kenn Scharf, “Cosmic Cavern” (2009) (image from

80s art star Kenny Scharf has made a life of his psychedelic sense of humor, and nowhere is that more apparent than the artist’s Cosmic Caverns, immersive environments filled with decorated appliances, day-glo paint and detritus. The end result is like standing inside a crystal geode if the crystals were made from LSD. The artist says the caverns come from an apartment that he shared with fellow painter Keith Haring in 1980. Lit by blacklight, the artists decked out the small space with anything they could find. We think a Cosmic Cavern would pretty much be the ultimate party space, rivaling even Anselm Kiefer in epicness. The current Cosmic Cavern is actually a party space in Williamsburg- so maybe this artist-house fantasy could actually become a reality!

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Kyle Chayka

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly,...

2 replies on “Artist Pads We’d Like To Hang Out In”

  1. A very fun read. I imagine you’ve seen Joe Fig’s book ‘Inside the Painter’s Studio’ and the older book on artist’s studios (can’t recall the title or author) that includes Braque, Picasso and even Matisse. Always great to see the digs up close.

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