When I asked friends what words and qualities came to mind when they thought of the members of our generation, a whole mod-podge of responses floated back: Forward-thinking, ambitious, educated, creative... dreamers, innovators, visionaries, travelers… compulsive, disruptive, non-committal… whiney, narcissistic, self-absorbed, fake… the list goes on, a balance of positives and negatives, and paints what I think to be an accurate sketch of the Millennial generation as a group. We are a conglomeration of self-absorbed individuals trying to get ahead in the world, and trying to enjoy ourselves in the meantime; the competition is ever-present.
When I think of what this competition means from an artistic perspective, I don’t believe it to be all bad. Millennials, as far as the eye can see, dare -- and love -- to be different. We love the sense of being unique and are obsessed with finding ways to stand out from one another. We express this in the ways we dress, in the ways we dye our hair, through Instagram posts that melt together to express our visual identities. Millennials go to lengths to find new and unexplored places, to push new boundaries, to discover the cool new travel destination, restaurant, rooftop, or speakeasy that no one yet knows about. We will take the road less traveled (the one undertaken with more difficulty) just to have a more authentic, immersive experience (and, maybe, a better picture to post and story to tell).
Millennials, in short, are after hidden treasure. We love the feeling of uncovering secrets, holding them, and perhaps, if we are generous of spirit and trusting of our audience, being the first to share them with the world. We love thrift shops and flea markets and that strange second-hand store in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, that only seems to be open on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons: we love them for any beautiful old thing to be found in their mazes and heaps, at a bargain, to display back at home in some unloved corner. Our pursuits of the eccentric end up spilling into our spaces and making up not just our own identities, but those of our homes.
In a recent living room re-decorating craze, I discovered the joy of treasure-hunting at flea markets and vintage stores. While it was taxing to get from place to place to place, waiting for new inventory to come in when the right thing wasn’t there on the right day, the hunt was worth it: a room can be so much more interesting when it is not simply filled with IKEA furniture. Anyone in the world of décor will tell you that the key to a successful room is a combination of old and contemporary pieces. For the richest of the rich, this might look like some beautiful Louis XVI chairs with modern upholstery set across from a glass coffee table and a beautiful white sofa atop a Persian rug and dark granite floors, Van Gogh hanging on the white-washed wall (I don’t know exactly, I’m not a decorator or ultra-rich). For a young collector my age just starting out, this might be a simple bookshelf from IKEA or Urban Outfitters with some beautiful vintage objects on it, maybe a vintage chair next to a simple, modern coffee table. What most millennials don’t know, however, is that there is a way besides hopping from vintage store to vintage store across the entire city to hunt for beautiful accent pieces: meet the affordable auction, Doyle at Home.
With price points from $100 to $4,000, Doyle at Home, held eight times a year, consistently attracts prominent decorators, private collectors, and dealers at all levels from across New York. A staple at Doyle since the 1970s, it offers furniture both contemporary and crafted in the style of period antiques; it offers paintings and other artwork; and it offers objects of all shapes and sizes. With IKEA selling a simple loveseat at $479, its cheapest living room chair (not quite a beauty) at $109, it seems silly to miss an opportunity to bid at an auction where many prices -- for higher-quality items with more history and character -- fall below these.
Auctions, which I’ve grown up viewing with my father, are fun experiences, from wandering around the saleroom looking at each object and deciding what you like best, to the process of bidding, whether in person or online. They are, I think, the newest secret for millennials to uncover. So, here are what I found to be some delights from the sale - pieces that could transform a room and compete, I think, with any object or piece of furniture you could buy from IKEA, Wayfair, Urban Outfitters, or Anthropologie - bid in person, online, or over the phone.
-- Olivia Andrews Dillingham
Doyle at Home
Auction: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 10am
Exhibition: Fri, July 21, 10am - 5pm / Mon, July 24, 10am - 6pm
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