Tommy Hilfiger + Art Production Fund

Tommy Hilfiger recently kicked-off his Surf Shack Summer Program in partnership with the Art Production Fund, an ongoing partner of the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation. In addition to releasing a capsule collection of Surf Shack clothing for summer, Hilfiger also announced the launch of a limited edition Surf Shack collection of surfboards designed by five contemporary artists: Lola Schnabel, Richard Phillips, Scott Campbell, Gary Simmons and Raymond Pettibon.  The boards will be displayed as part of special surf-inspired exhibitions at Tommy Hilfiger’s US Flagship locations in Miami, L.A., and New York.

The Summer Program will further include a cross-continent Surf Shack bus tour, which begins in San Diego in June. The customized Surf Shack bus will travel to cities across North America, opening up as a mobile pop-up shop to sell the artist-designed surf boards and other specialty products. Only a limited number of boards were produced, selling for $2,000 each. To learn more about the artists or inquire to purchase, visit the Tommy Hilfiger website.

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Design by Richard Phillips

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Design by Gary Simmons

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Design by Lola Schnabel

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Design by Raymond Pettibon

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Design by Scott Campbell

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Restoration Hardware Enters the Art Business

Earlier this month, Restoration Hardware—the home furnishings retail giant—announced the launch of RH Contemporary Art (RHCA), “a multi-channel platform designed to raise the visibility of international artists to collectors and viewers.”  This platform includes a five-story exhibition space and commercial art gallery at 437 West 16th Street in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, not far from the Whitney Museum of Art’s new location. In conjunction with the brick-and-mortar operation, RHCA will extend to an online platform with works for sale, and an art journal, all set to launch this fall.

The space will commission work from emerging artists for a new exhibition every eight weeks starting in September. Engaging in a non-traditional business model for the artworld, RHCA plans to buy commissions from artists in advance and in-full, as part of its mission to raise the visibility of international artists to collectors and viewers.  “By commissioning and acquiring the works up front, we are enabling the artists to create new bodies of work and to go in new directions with their practice,” RHCA’s vice-president, Holly Baxter told The Art Newspaper, adding that RHCA will not represent artists but will offer the commissioned work for sale.

Restoration Hardware has experimented with art in-stores before (see this post I wrote last fall), but RHCA is an entirely new concept. RHCA’s first acquisition, the first edition of Rain Room by rAndom International is currently on loan to The Museum of Modern Art for EXPO 1: New York, open now through July 2013. This mark’s the U.S. premiere of the large-scale installation, which uses motion sensors to enable visitors to walk through a downpour without getting wet. Apparently, last weekend the wait time to get in was 6 hours, which speaks to the keen eye of RHCA’s curatorial staff in selecting innovative artists and exposing them to a larger audience. I myself can’t wait to experience the installation, and look forward to visiting RHCA’s new gallery space when it opens this fall.

Random International. Rain Room. 2012. Photo courtesy of the artist

Random International. Rain Room. 2012. Photo courtesy of the artist.

NARS x Pierre Hardy

What do shoes and blush have in common? If you asked me that a few months ago, I would have had to come up with quite a creative answer. Ask me that now, with the recent launch of the Pierre Hardy for NARS, collection, and the answer comes much easier.

The famed shoe designer—whose high platform pumps and wedges I can’t get enough of—collaborated with the makeup mavens over at NARS for a limited edition collection featuring two blush shades and six vibrant nail polish duos inspired by Hardy’s summer 2013 shoe collection. The blush palettes are embossed with Hardy’s signature cubic print, and the polishes come packaged in mini shoe boxes with dust bags. This isn’t the first time NARS has partnered with a fashion designer to inspire a line of nail colors—just one year ago I wrote about the brand’s partnership with Thakoon with a similar concept—but in my opinion, this collaboration, with all the extra design touches, was perfectly executed. The line is available now on narscosmetics.com or at your closest NARS beauty counter.

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Campaign shot for the collection

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The two blush hues with the geometric print

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How amazingly adorable is this packaging!?

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Bold shoes. Bold nails. Can’t go wrong.

Art I’m Loving: El Anatsui

A few weeks ago, I attended the Brooklyn Artists Ball, an annual fundraiser event at the Brooklyn Museum. It was an incredible event – starting with a seated dinner in the Museum’s beautiful Beaux-Arts Court featuring unique tables each designed by a different artist. Dinner was followed by drinks and dancing, and the turn out was incredible.

One of my favorite aspects of this event is that the Museum’s exhibitions remain open for viewing throughout the night. It isn’t often you get to experience a museum after hours without hundreds of other people in your way when you are trying to read wall tags or see a piece close-up. This allowed for unobstructed access to the Museum’s current El Anatsui exhibition—the first solo show for the artist at a New York museum. The internationally-acclaimed African artist displayed over 30 of his metal and wood artworks that transform appropriated objects into site-specific sculptures.

Twelve monumental wall sculptures were made entirely of bottle caps “pieced together to form colorful, textured hangings that take on radically new shapes with each installation.” These installations were breathtaking; my pictures below definitely don’t do them justice. I highly recommend visiting the exhibition this summer before it closes August 4th. Visitor details can be found on the Brooklyn Museum website.

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Red Block, 2010. Aluminum and copper wire, Two pieces, each 200 3/4 x 131 1/2 in.

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Drainpipe, 2010. Tin and copper wire

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Gli (Wall), 2010. Aluminum and copper wire

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Gli (Wall) (detail), 2010. Aluminum and copper wire,

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Highlights from Frieze New York

In case the New York art world was starting to get a bit weary because they hadn’t hosted a contemporary art fair in a two whole months, Frieze returned for its sophomore edition this past weekend. Under a deluxe tent on Randalls Island, 180 blue-chip galleries from all over the world brought the cream of the crop from their rosters of artists. And according to an article by Katya Kazakina on Bloomberg, it was well worth the trip. Sales within the art market have continued to soar, and Frieze proved to be no different. Kazakina references that Hauser & Wirth quickly sold 40 small versions of the gigantic puppy outside by Paul McCarthy for $25,000 each, as well as works by Rashid Johnson and Matthew Day Jackson, ranging in price from $90,000 to $175,000. Luhring Augustine sold out its Tom Friedman-devoted booth in the first hour and a half. David Zwirner sold a huge batch of Thomas Ruff photographs on opening day, all priced between $7,000 and $95,000. And they weren’t the only ones (read more here).

But whiles sales might be the most important goal for dealers at an art fair, the choice to participate is also spurred by brand awareness, maintaining an aura of prestige, and to have personal interaction with buyers. For myself, an art fair is  an opportunity to survey the range of incredible contemporary art being made across the globe today. Below are some of my top picks from the fair, but you can browse my entire photo album on facebook.

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Simon Hantai at Paul Kasmin Gallery

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James Nares at Paul Kasmin Gallery

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Tsuruko Yamazaki at Take Ninagawa

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David Benjamin Sherry at Salon 94

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Pae White

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Valeska Soares at Galerie Fortes Vilaca

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Vik Muniz

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Rashid Johnson at Hauser & Wirth

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Fred Tomaselli at James Cohan Gallery

Prada’s ‘Great Gatsby’ Exhibition

So yes, I was one of the people on opening night lined up outside a movie theatre (the famous Ziegfeld theatre in New York, to be precise) to drool over Leonardo DiCaprio see Baz Luhrmann’s much-anticipated adaptation of The Great Gatsby. The movie was fantastic, the acting spot-on, and the soundtrack lived up to all the hype (would you expect anything less from Jay-Z?). It was worth every second of the 2 hours and 23 minutes, and I recommend that everyone see it.

The other drool-worthy aspect of the film (aside from Leo)? The costumes. Miuccia Prada worked with costume designer Catherine Martin to create over 40 looks for the movie, each inspired by styles from the Prada and Miu Miu archive. In an accurate tribute to the 1920s, Prada’s outfits included shimmering dressed covered in crystals and ample use of fringe, sequins, velvet, and oppulent furs. The outfits transformed Carey Mulligan into Daisy Buchanan; she nailed the role as the object of Gatsby’s obsession.

The costumes from the movie are currently on view in an exhibition in Prada’s flagship Soho retail store through today only, so be sure to see them if you live in New York! The exhibition will head to Prada’s Tokyo boutique next and will be on display June 14-30, before making a final stop at the brands’s Shanghai boutique in mid-July.

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All About Punk

When the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced last fall that the following year’s exhibition at the Costume Institute would be “Punk: Chaos to Couture,” it was exciting because it was a new, different concept. After two consecutive years of designer-centric spectacles (the Alexander McQueen retrospective and the Prada-Schiaparelli exhibition, specifically), I was excited about the theme of the exhibition because it would spotlight a variety of designers at various points throughout their careers.

But the fashion elite, to whom the Met Gala is the equivalent of the Oscars red carpet, did not share in my excitement, because it put them in quite the predicament as to what they would wear. Eric Wilson even published a piece in the New York Times this past week about the predicament attendees found themselves in when trying to find an outfit. “The Costume Institute gala is many things: It is a barometer of the famous and powerful, a critical fund-raiser for the museum, a testament to the muscle of Ms. Wintour… But one important thing that it is not is a costume party,” stated Wilson. The article explained how guests faced a particular “struggle” this year because they had no idea how to dress appropriately (“struggle” being the operative word, because if your biggest problem in life revolves around what to wear to the exclusive gala you paid $25,000 to attend, then things could be a whole lot worse).

But I myself am excited to see the attire this evening, and especially those who take big risks and embrace the punk theme in all its glory. And in the spirit of punk and in honor of this year’s exhibition, I pulled together a collection of punk-inspired fashion and art. Enjoy!

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Moda Operandi model (left) wears Tripp NYC Crossed Out Jeans and Balmain Leather Biker Jacket.

M’O model (right) wears Givency Embellished Cotton Jacket with Back Pleats and New York Vintage Black Peacock Mohawk

The accessories (clockwise from top left): Valentino Rockstud Leather HeadbandDr. Martens Graffiti’d by Klughas, Balmain Structured Shoulder Moto Jacket, Courtney Lee Collection Cody Bracelet, Proenza Schouler Lizard-effect Leather Cage Boots

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Top Row (from left): Natalia FabiaHooker 1, 2011; Eric White, Apocalypse Now, 2012; Mick Rock, Kate Moss with Iggy Tee, 2002

Bottom Row: Bruce Conner26 Punk Photos: 11. Roz Speaks: Negative Trend, January 29, 1978, 1985; Brendan MurphyJoa, 2012; Mick RockLou Reed Transformer Cover, London, 1972

Barneys New York + Roy Lichtenstein

Looking to add a little “pop” to your living room? Or maybe your kitchen? Well look no further – Barneys New York has just launched a covetable home collection in collaboration with the estate of Roy Lichtenstein and Art Production Fund. The famed pop artist’s signature motifs are featured throughout the collection—Drawing for Kiss II covers a beach blanket, Baked Potato decorates placemats of various background colors, and ben-day dots adorn a tea set.

In honor of the partnership, Barneys Madison Avenue Flagship has devoted its windows to all things Pop (pictures below)! My pick? This amazing glass set featuring Lichtenstein’s Drawing for Paper Cup. Select pieces from the limited-edition collection are now available now on barneys.com and in Barneys stores nation wide. Plus, 25% of proceeds benefit Art Production Fund. Get them before they’re gone!

Ben-day dot-clad dishware

Ben-day dot-clad dishware

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Glass Set, Drawing For Paper Cup, 1967

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Rectangle Pillow ARRRRRFF!, 1962

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A view of Barneys Madison Avenue flagship store windows

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Another view of Barneys Madison Avenue flagship store windows

Barneys New York window photography by Tom Sibley courtesy of Barneys New York.