Trading One Salon for Another

Forget floor-to-ceiling curtains; it’s floor-to-ceiling art here.

MARY EHNI I think of our apartment as being in the true salon style.


Art works by Roe Ethridge, left, and Marilyn Minter (right), recline against a wall in the TriBeCa apartment of Stephen Frailey and Mary Ehni.

Adrienne Grunwald for The New York Times

STEPHEN FRAILEY There used to be a slot or window between this room and the bedroom. When we redid the apartment we filled in that wall so we could hang more art.

How many works do you own?

FRAILEY Not more than 120 or 140. Including stuff not framed, maybe 150. That’s not a lot in terms of a collection. That’s completely amateur.

How do you come up with the arrangements on the walls?

EHNI We take turns holding things up for each other.

FRAILEY I like to find unexpected relationships between things, find something within individual pictures that creates a conversation when they’re hung side by side.

Do you ever get bored with what’s on the wall?

FRAILEY I’m a little bored with what’s above the couch.

EHNI Me too!

FRAILEY Really? Who knew? We should move things around.

I see more paintings than photographs.


“Waterstone,” by Dove Bradshaw is one of the many pieces in the collection of Stephen Frailey and Mary Ehni, some of which were acquired in exchange for Ms. Ehni’s hair-coloring services.

Adrienne Grunwald for The New York Times

FRAILEY I studied painting in college, so that’s my aesthetic reference. I got interested in photography as a way to make notations for paintings. Then I just became more and more interested in photography as a cultural idea.

Tell me about one or two pieces you got through barter.

EHNI Back in the early ’90s, Mary Heilman was in our neighborhood, and…

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