NORTH OF MIAMI, the new home of tennis champion Serena Williams boasts a trophy room with open shelves displaying her U.S. Open, Wimbledon, French Open, and Australian Open awards and a living room space where her growing art collection, including works by Radcliffe Bailey and Leonardo Drew, is on view. She moved into the waterfront home last July and recently gave Architectural Digest (AD) a tour.
“I love art and I love all kinds of artists. And I find it really cool. So I was like, what if I had a formal living room, but instead of it being a living room, it’s called an art gallery. So this is our gallery. It actually starts from the front door,” she said during the video tour.
Upon entering her home, the first work of art visitors see is a mixed-media collage painting by Bailey. The work stands more than 11-feet tall, covering an entire wall. Atlanta-based Bailey explores ancestry, race, migration and collective memory in his work. “Astro Black” (2018) is embellished with railroad tracks, objects he has employs in his work for their personal and historic symbolism.
The work was featured in “Travelogue,” a 2018 survey exhibition at The School, Jack Shainman Gallery’s location in Kinderhook, N.Y. Bailey spoke to Hudson Valley One about the exhibition and the meaning behind the works.
“It’s about dealing with travel by land and by sea, but then spiritually traveling as well,” he said. “Some of it’s layered between my father being [a railroad] engineer and the Underground Railroad, to boats and travel, movement crossing the Atlantic—as well as the relationship between sea and space, and how we somewhat sit at the crossroads between the two.”
Williams said “Astro Black” is one her “favorites” and noted that she has a few pieces by Bailey. Past the entryway, the living room-turned-art gallery showcases several more works of art, including a wall-mounted, sculpture by Drew.
Installation view of RADCLIFFE BAILEY, “Astro Black,” 2018 (mixed media, 140 x 115 x 28 1/2 inches), Jack Shainman Gallery, The School, Kinderhook, N.Y., 2018. | © Radcliffe Bailey. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
A black wood abstract work, “Number 184” (2016), exemplifies Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Drew’s practice. He makes dramatic sculptures and installations, usually working with wood. The works are characterized by an accumulation of material, which he manipulates through burning, weathering, oxidation, or painting. Centered around form and composition, Drew’s abstract works reference decay, erosion, and detritus, symbolizing the arc of time, cycle of nature, and journey of life.
Nearby, “Monument for a Promise” (2013), another work by Bailey, sits atop a pedestal. The steel and concrete sculpture depicting a donkey carrying a trunk and standing over a mound of cotton was also on view in “Travelogue.”
“We created a space that she can actually use and enjoy and live with the art, and invite other people to absorb it and have that emotional connection as soon as you walk in. It sets the tone for the rest of the home.”
— Venus Williams
Beyond the gallery space a bookshelf opens to reveal a media room with textured metallic wallpaper, complete with a bar, popcorn machine, neon “Sérénade” sign, and a stage for karaoke. Williams’s home office is decorated with huge magazine covers on which she is featured. The kitchen is outfitted with navy blue, brass-trimmed appliances by Officine Gullo, handcrafted in Florence, Italy. In the dining room, Williams made the red color field painting hanging above the sideboard herself. Out back, the infinity pool is surrounded by a terrace clad in White Falda porcelain tile.
The dream home Williams shares with her husband Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, and their three-year-old daughter Olympia, was five years in the making. What started out as a 14,500-square-foot Spanish Mediterranean–style home was gut renovated. When Williams embarked on the project, she and Ohanian had recently started dating. The house was transformed in parallel with their relationship. After a child and marriage, the home emerged a modern home with clean lines designed for the young family.
The interiors and all of Williams’s custom ideas were realized in collaboration with her sister Venus Williams (who lives nearby) and her design firm, V Starr Interiors in West Palm Beach, Fla.
“I am not a fan of just having spaces to have them. Maybe some people use their formal living rooms, but we don’t,” Venus told AD. “So we created a space that she can actually use and enjoy and live with the art, and invite other people to absorb it and have that emotional connection as soon as you walk in. It sets the tone for the rest of the home.”
Williams said her gallery is a work in progress and added, “I have a Titus Kaphar piece, which I’m super excited about that’s coming soon.” CT
North of Miami, the home of Serena Williams features an art gallery with works by, from left, Leonardo drew, Radcliffe Bailey, and David Kracov, as well as a Kaws x Campana chair, a live-edge wood bench, wood doors from Nepal, a piece from the Konyak Naga tribe of India, and a Vintage Wurlitzer piano. Photo by Lelanie Foster/Architectural Digest
Serena Williams owns “Number 184” (2016) by Leonardo Drew, a sculptural work very similar to the one pictured here, which was featured in the artist’s summer 2019 exhibition at Galerie Lelong in New York. Shown, LEONARDO DREW, “Number 212,” 2018 (wood and paint, 125 x 132 x 56 inches / 317.5 x 335.3 x 142.2 cm). | © Leonardo Drew, Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.
Last October on Instagram, Alexis Ohanion posted this image of daughter Olympia looking up at one of the works on display in the family’s art gallery space. Shown, RADCLIFFE BAILEY, “Monument for a Promise,” 2013 (steel, concrete, cotton, and trunk, 70 x 30 x 18 inches). | © Radcliffe Bailey. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
“Radcliffe Bailey: The Magic City” and “Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine” document the work of Atlanta artist Radcliffe Bailey. Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Leonardo Drew’s work is explored in the volumes “Existed: Leonardo Drew” and “Leonardo Drew,” which includes a contribution from Valerie Cassel Oliver.
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