Fine Art in Office Building Lobbies? Tour by Young Real Estate Pros Reveals Where and Why

Cindy Glanzrock, Glanzrock Realty, in front of Omar Chacon's Nimaima, 2014 at 270 Madison Avenue

A striking LED sculpture by Leo Villareal sparkles and streams from ceiling to floor.  The colorful 17 foot mural by Caio Fonseca dazzles the eye. Mike Bidlo’s “Not Warhol (Brillo Boxes, 1964)” recalls the 60s and 70s. Individual painted shapes are peeled and collaged onto a canvas entitled “Nimaima, 2014” created by the Colombian artist Omar Chacon.  Lady Gaga, an alluring abstract sculpture by Hans Van de Bovenkamp stares from a corner.

The Museum of Modern Art? Whitney? A gallery in Chelsea? Not at all! These  and other artworks are on permanent and rotating exhibit in the middle of  Manhattan in the lobbies of six sleek corporate office buildings located within minutes of one another.

Eager to learn more about this growing phenomenon of lobby art and to find out why some of New York’s most prominent landlords and owners are investing millions for their buildings, Young Men’s/Woman’s Real Estate Association of New York (YMWREA) set out to visit 130 West 42nd Street, 1133 6th Avenue, 1114 6th Avenue, 285 Madison Avenue, 270 Madison Avenue and 505 Fifth Avenue.

The idea for the tour was presented by Cindy Glanzrock, YMWREA member and president of Glanzrock Realty and Building Art Curatorial Program (BACP), to YMWREA chairman Lindsay Ornstein who is partner in Transwestern Consulting Group.

Glanzrock’s BACP curates and manages lobby beautification programs for many office buildings including two on the tour: 130 West 42nd Street and 270 Madison where  artwork is leased with the option to buy. Artwork on view in the other buildings on the tour is either commissioned or purchased for the lobbies.

“We decided to conduct this tour because everyone keeps asking ‘What is the value of art in a lobby?'” said Glanzrock. “The answer is the same whether you are an owner, developer or property manager: Art draws people to a lobby.”

For the YM/WREA members, the tour was eye-opening, interesting and entertaining. Owners, managers and art directors stressed to the group how art made their buildings unique, provided energy and community and, equally important, attracted attention and added significantly to the bottom line.

“Art gives character and individuality to lobbies,” said Glanzrock. “If you are a landlord, I commend you for doing it. If you don’t do it, it should be part of your development budget. Art brands a building, giving tenants reason for pause and appreciation of  art as a pleasant distraction.”

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