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Special Fall Home Design Issue | Display

Shelve it

September 28, 2003|Barbara Thornburg | Barbara Thornburg is senior home design editor for the magazine.

Artists Lari Pittman and Roy Dowell had wanted to display their collection of retablos at their Richard Neutra house in La Crescenta. But with so many glass walls, they had little hanging space. So the collection of Mexican religious art, dating from the mid-19th century and collected on trips and at local antique stores and flea markets, was brought to their Atwater Village studio.

Five shallow wall-to-wall shelves painted a yellow-ochre divide the space. The devotional artworks, painted on tin and copper and ranging in size from 5 by 7 inches to 14 by 20 inches, lean casually against the wall. "This system allows for a lot of flexibility," Dowell says. "If we add to the collection, we can easily rearrange them. Setting an old piece in a new location often brings out something we hadn't noticed before. We see it with fresh eyes. And if we're sending off a piece to an exhibition, we don't have to deal with a hole in the wall."

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