The 8 Best Valentine’s Day Art Gifts & Dates

Artwork: © Nobuyoshi Araki, Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Courtesy Thames & Hudson/ Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (detail)

Valentine’s Day is the best time of the year to show the one you love just how much you care. Crave has put together a guide to great art gifts and dates, no matter what your budget.

Also: Meet Artist Awol Erizku, the Man Who Photographed Beyoncé’s Mystical Maternity Photos


Yasumasa Morimura: Animai-no-bi (Ambiguous Beauty), courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Yasumasa Morimura: Animai-no-bi (Ambiguous Beauty)

Japanese photographer Yasumasa Morimura knows how to turn up the heat with his recreations of iconic works of art. His latest piece brilliantly combines East and West, giving us a contemporary M. Butterfly effect. Here Morimura channels the spirit of Marilyn Monroe in her first Playboy pin-up on a fan that will keep you cool as temperatures rise, available exclusively through the Museum of Modern Art. The reverse side features the Japanese character for “love,” a beautiful reminder of the many forms it takes.

Hi-Nikki (Non-Diary Diary) by Nobuyoshi Araki (Thames & Hudson)

Legendary photographer Nobuyoki Araki returns at the age of 77 with one of his most joyous books of work. Hi-Nikki (Non Diary Diary) is a massive tome with 500 pages and 1,250 illustrations of the pleasures of daily life. His spontaneous photographs of delectable treats, of sumptuous skies, and beautiful women will make you feel romantic every day of the year, as you delight in the sensual pleasures of the earth. A photograph from the book appears in the header of the story.

Booze Flask X David Shrigley, courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Booze Hip Flask X David Shrigley

Speaking of love, is there anything better than taking a quick nip? Ahh just one sip and all the tensions of the world cease to exist. The Museum of Modern Art understands that tough time call for inner peace, and so they introduce the Booze Hip Flask X David Shrigley, with the perfect visual reminder not to indulge too much, lest you find yourself up to your eyeballs in the stuff.

Cabbage Rose Satin Strip Scarf

There is nothing quite so sensuous as the feeling of satin on skin, the way it slips and slides along the flesh. The Metropolitan Museum of Art understands just this, brilliantly decorating each luxurious scarf with a cabbage roses drawn from French and English designs from their collection. The designs come at the height of the nineteenth century when Paris emerged as the style capital of the world, offering a piece of old world elegance.

Poster, IBM Gallery, 1970, Paul Rand: A Designers Art by Paul Rand, published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2016

Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art (Princeton Architectural Press)

Nothing says “I love you” like “I know your heart” and for so many of us, our passions can be found in the world of graphic design, popular culture, and American history. Known as the “Picasso of graphic design,” Paul Rand (1914-1996) took design to its highest heights, turning commerce into a form of fine art. Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art is the ultimate handbook to his groundbreaking career that will put you in the mood for love.


Let’s get down to brass tacks: The glory of seeing art exhibitions is not simply the work, but the fact that gallery exhibitions won’t cost you a dime to check out. They are free and open to the public—so best to check your local listings to see what is showing in your neck of the woods.

Museums, on the other hand, are a tricky lot. Some, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, both in New York, have a “pay what you want” policy. Others charge a flat rate which could be a little high, but the upshot is, you can hang out all day if you’d like. Crave recommends some shows currently on view this month, that will get you in the mood for love.

Aline Kominsky-Crumb & Robert Crumb, Drawn Together, Cartoonmuseum Basel, 2016, Ink and watercolor on paper, Poster for the exhibition, Courtesy of the artists

Aline Kominsky-Crumb & Robert Crumb: Drawn Together

Drawn Together is a love story in art, comics, and literature. By the time Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Robert Crumb met in 1972, they had each established themselves as foremost figures in the underground comics scene in San Francisco: Kominsky-Crumb with her autobiographical comics that appeared in the influential all-female anthology Wimmen’s Comix, and Crumb with his genre-defining comic strips of the 1960s and early 1970s like Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural, and Keep on Truckin’. Together, they became an unstoppable force, revealing their deepest selves through taboo-shattering, confessional comics that are truly works of art. Drawn Together is on view at David Zwirner, New York, through February 18, 2017.

William H. Johnson, born Florence, SC 1901-died Central Islip, NY 190, 7Cafe, ca. 1939-1940, oil on paperboard 36 1/2 x 28 3/8 in. Gift of the Harmon Foundation 1967.59.669

Artworks by African Americans from the Collection

Jacob Lawrence, Mickaelene Thomas, Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, William H. Johnson, Horace Pippin: these are just some of the 200 African American artists whose works have been collected by t he Smithsonian American Art Museum. Artworks by African Americans from the Collection presents 184 of the most important works for the collection on view in an exhibition that will make you fall in love with this country and its citizens. Artworks by African Americans from the Collection is on view at the Smithsonia American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., now through February 28, 2017.

Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York

Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York presents a stunning look at LGBT life throughout the twentieth century in the works of Crave faves Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Cecil Beaton as well as George Platt Lynes, Leonard Bernstein, Mercedes de Acosta, Harmony Hammond, and Greer Lankton. The exhibition features 225 works that will take you from Romeo and Juliet, Bernstein’s inspiration for West Side Story to the radical ads made during the height of the AIDS crisis that were the first time a homosexual kiss was shown openly in the mainstream media. The exhibition is a study in art and activism in equal part, a gracious reminder that the freedom to love is something we must protect at all costs. Gay Gotham is on view at the Museum of the City of New York through March 26, 2017.

Kissing Doesn’t Kill: Greed and Indifference Dobus poster, design by Gran Fury for Art Against AIDS/On The Road and Creative Time, Inc., 1989, Gran Fury, Courtesy The New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division

Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Whitewall, Jocks and Nerds, and L’Oeil de la Photographie. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.


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