With the holidays nearly upon us, it’s time again to start thinking about how you want to celebrate your loved ones. If capitalism is your preferred means for expressing affection, have no fear, Hyperallergic’s editors have banded together to offer our picks for some of this year’s top art-related gifts. From books, to playing cards, and various hand-crafted goods, we’ve got you covered this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Peruse away below:
Gifts under $25:
Faith Ringgold’s Tar Beach, ~$7.99
The major contributions of artist Faith Ringgold, 89, have recently been highlighted in the new permanent collection rehang at the Modern Museum of Art and in the traveling exhibition Soul of a Nation. Meanwhile, her impact on children’s literature has been equally vast. Written in 1991, Tar Beach (1991) is a semi-autobiographical picture book based on a quilt in the artist’s signature style, which draws from her experiences as a child living in Harlem. It’s a classic text and worthy gift for any of the kids in your life (art-loving or otherwise).
Hirbawi scarves from Kufiya.org, $19.80
Yassar Hirbawi founded a factory in 1961 and today it is reputedly “the only and the last” to produce Kufiyas in Palestine, where the type of scarf originated. Located in Al-Khalil, known in Hebrew as Hebron, the factory is run by Hirbawi’s three sons and a family friend. Not only can you order original black and white or red and white design for 18 euros (~$19.80), but you can also order more contemporary versions with names like Chocolate, Gaza, Lavender, and Coffee, and they’re all quite attractive. —Hrag Vartanian
Art-inspired enamel pins from The Pin Museum, $10
Pacific’s A Handbook of Drug Terms, $15
“Mary Jane,” “Mud,” “Grass,” “Horse” — over the decades, the terms we’ve used to describe drugs have varied almost as much as the latest H&M trends (my mother’s go-to is “grass” for the record). Since 2017, the artist-run small press Pacific has been reprinting a facsimile of a New York State Government brochure from 1972 that, from today’s perspective, is sure to elicit a few laughs and wisecracks among your wordier, and decidedly more adult friends and family members. A slim, saddle-stitched zine now in its third edition, you can scoop one up for $15 via Pacific (Ice breaker for your next awkward holiday gathering, anyone?) – Dessane Lopez Cassell
Moon Goddess Candles and aromatherapy oils, $12.50–$20.50
For those of you who are mystically inclined, the Brooklyn artisans behind Moon Goddess Candles often park their truck right by the Hyperallergic office in Williamsburg. Their hand-poured aromatherapy oils and candles are infused with crystals, dried flowers, and herbs to promote “new beginnings,” “stress relief,” and more.
Modern Art-inspired Christmas Tree Ornaments, starting at $21.99
Even if you don’t have a Christmas tree, these artist-themed ornaments are irresistible (I might just nail them to the wall). You can find Yayoi Kusama ($21.99), Frida Kahlo ($28), Leonardo da Vinci ($21.99), and Claude Monet ($21.99) ornaments from various Etsy sellers. The MoMA Design Store also has this adorable Modern Artist Ornament Set ($36), and you can purchase yet another Frida Kahlo ($20) at the Met Store, as well as an artist palette ($20) and Fabergé-style mini eggs ($125). – Elisa Wouk Almino
An Artist-Inspired Tote Bag (with, — wait for it — an interior pocket!), $20
The perennial tote bag is back for the holidays, and this one can be had at the Bard Graduate Center store. This double sided canvas tote bag is not only utilitarian in its sturdiness (with a large interior pocket that is 9 x 9 inches), it also allows the person who carries it to be fashionable with cosmopolitan flair. The bag features artwork created by Irma Boom in conjunction with the exhibition, French Fashion, Women, and the First World War and the design is both eye catching and unique, so will elicit compliments and interest long after the exhibition has closed. – Seph Rodney
For the Activist in your life, assorted gifts from Fuse Works, starting at $20
Starbucks is ubiquitous nowadays so artist John Marriott decided to make them last longer than one cup of coffee by transforming them into quirky foot coasters. For $20 you too can prance around with these slippers. And the best part is you can recycle them! This is one of the many items you can find at Fuse Works, which is run by Front Room gallery, and other items you might consider include Heidi Cody’s ad-covered toilet paper ($15), Lisa Levy’s book of matches that proudly displays the date of her first period ($1), and Joe Bochynski’s thankful bricks, which may prove useful during a riot ($20). – HV
Gifts for $26–$100:
Karen Azoulay’s Flowers and Their Meanings Playing Cards, $27
Floriography, also known as the language of flowers, is a form of communication that was popular in the Victorian era. Botanical species were assigned sentimental meanings that were collected in exhaustive dictionaries. The symbols represented in this deck of cards are excerpted from the publication Flowers and Their Meanings, a guide for deciphering.
This deck of 60 mini cards comes packaged in a special box, and comes with 4 additional cards offering instructions for suggested use. The cards can be played 5 ways, including slight of hand tricks, a poem generator, and tarot-esque divination games. – Hakim Bishara
Oscilloscope’s Musings: The Printed Collection, Volumes I & II, $39 each, or $70 for both
After a decade of distributing independent films, Oscilloscope Laboratories has produced two slim volumes of original film criticism. Priced at $39 a piece (or $70 for the set) and featuring original essays by K. Austin Collins (Vanity Fair), Bilge Ebiri (Vulture, NY Times), Alissa Wilkinson (Vox), Sheila O’Malley (Roger Ebert), and Angelica Jade Bastién (Vulture), among others, Musings collects critical, thoughtful texts sure to stir up some conversation with the cinephiles in your life. Limited to a 1000 copy run, snag one before they run out (as they mention, they’re “not f**cking around.”) – DLC
Naima Green’s “Pur·suit” deck, $65
Inspired by Catherine Opie’s influential “Dyke Deck” (ca. 1995), artist Naima Green created “Pur·suit,” her own functional set of playing cards adorned with portraits of her queer contemporaries. The artist says that after discovering Opie’s deck, she “began thinking about how I might capture my queer community for posterity.” The project came to fruition after a Kickstarter raised over $33,000 to cover printing and shipping, design, production, and more. “I wanted to make an object that people will hold dear but that is not too precious. I’m interested in object-making,” she explained to Hyperallergic in January. “I want folks to use these cards however they please: throwing down in spades, divination readings, numerology, poker, etc.” The cards are available for $65 on Green’s website. – JW
Kusama ceramic plate? Yes, please. The “Love Was Infinitely Shining” ceramic plate is a functional domestic art product made in collaboration with Kusama and Third Drawer Down and only available in art museums and exclusive design stores (like Hyperallergic’s very own shop) around the world. It’s $64 and worth it. – HV
Artist-Inspired Berets from Love and Fashion UK, starting at $44.25
I admit it, I love Etsy. Most of all for the zany takes on everyday objects, so you can imagine how in love I am with this handmade wool felt beret — clearly inspired by Yayoi Kusama. It’s $44.25 and seems like a good deal. The shop, which is in the UK, also offers versions with Gustav Klimt’s Kiss ($160.93), Pokemon ($50.95), and van Gogh’s Starry Night ($160.93). – HV
Gifts over $100:
I’m a big fan of non-mainstream ways of buying art, and turning to Native American trading posts across the country are one way to ensure your money not only buys some high-quality works of decorative and fine art, but also a way of ensuring support for a network of shops and galleries that rarely get the spotlight. At the Prairie Edge & Sioux Trading Post you can find craft supplies, botanicals and herbs, but one of my favorites are the ledger drawings and blankets. This Big Medicine Pendleton blanket is a particularly stunning design and costs $269. And if you’re feeling particularly rich, then maybe check out an original ledger drawing by Darryl Growing Thunder, which retails for $1,200. If you’re not feeling rich, then how about a white sage wand for $4?
There’s so much more at prairieedge.com. – HV
Rihanna: Fenty x Phaidon, starting at $113.99
Give the gift of Rihanna this holiday season. The only book your coffee table will ever need is Rihanna’s 504-page visual autobiography, Rihanna: Fenty x Phaidon, which traces her life from her youth in Barbados, to her present day superstardom. As you patiently wait for her anticipated 9th album, this glimpse into her life is more than enough to hold you over through the holiday season.