H&M + Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons has had his share of ups and downs in the art world, and is certainly one of the most controversial artists working today. But for anyone living in or visiting New York City this summer, it’s clear that he has taken the international epicenter of the art world by storm. His giant retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art—a long-awaited first for the artist and the final show at the museum’s Madison Avenue address before moving to a new Renzo Piano-designed space in the Meatpacking district next year—just opened amidst highly positive media reviews. The exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s career, as well as the first to fill nearly the entirety of the Whitney’s Marcel Breuer building with a single artist’s work (might as well go out with a bang, right?). Couple the ambitious exhibition with the artist’s Split-Rocker in Rockefeller Center—a monumental public sculpture made with living flowers, and presented by Public Art Fund and Gagosian Gallery—and it’s obvious Koons is at the height of his career.

No matter your opinion of the artist’s work, he has certainly made accessible art, making him a perfect partner for fast-fashion chain H&M’s first-ever artist collaboration. Starting July 17th, art and fashion enthusiasts can snag Koons’s $58 million balloon dog sculpture for just $49.50 in the form of a limited-edition leather handbag. Koons will also redecorate H&M’s Fifth Avenue flagship store, with images of the balloon dog glossing the six-story facade alongside the phrase, “Fashion Loves Art.” Talk about highbrow-lowbrow.

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Koons’s Play-Doh, 1994-2014. This 10-foot-high multicolored aluminum sculpture took him 20 years to complete and makes it’s first-ever debut in the exhibition. Image via Wallpaper Mag.

Koons's Split-Rocker, 2002. On view at Rockefeller Center through September 12.

Koons’s Split-Rocker, 2002. On view at Rockefeller Center through September 12. Photo via Public Art Fund.

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The limited-edition Jeff Koons bag for H&M

 

Acne Studios + Hilma af Klint

Swedish fashion house Acne Studios found inspiration in Hilma af Klint, an abstract artist from the late 19th/early 20th century, for a recent capsule collection. A pioneer of the movement, Af Klint’s work was hardly recognized as such during her lifetime. Rather, it wasn’t until early 2013–decades after the Swedish artist’s passing — that a major museum gave the artist her due. Last February, the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm erected the largest af Klint exhibition to date and published an all-encompassing book of her work, Hilma af Klint: A Pioneer of Abstraction. The New York Times credited the growing the international reach of the artist, five of whom’s works were featured in the Central Pavillion at last summer’s Venice Biennale.

With the artist’s work now in the limelight, it seems only appropriate for Acne Studios to honor the once forgotten Swedish artist. The brand reinterpreted some of af Klint’s early 20th century paintings to derive the collection of tops, scarves, and totes, which can be purchased on acnestudios.com.

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A sweatshirt from the collection

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A t-shirt from the collection

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A scarf from the collection

Hermès + Kermit Oliver

It seems that European luxury fashion brands are all about good ‘ole Texas these days. Chanel brought its annual fashion show, Métiers d’Art, to Dallas this past December, a large-scale event that has previously been held in locations including a castle in Scotland and a barge in Shanghai. An international jet set crowd of 900 descended on the city to view the collection inspired by “the West of the Mexican border in the time of the Civil War, a more romantic Texas fantasy,” Karl Lagerfeld told the New York Times.

And last month, the Paris-based Hermès released a limited edition set of scarves designed by Waco, Texas-based painter Kermit Oliver. Oliver worked the night shift at the local post office for 29 years before he sent one of his naturalistic paintings to the Hermès headquarters in 1984 (more on the artist’s background here). At the time, Jean-Louis Dumas of Hermès reached out to his friend Lawrence Marcus (as in Neiman Marcus) to recommend an artist who could capture the spirit of the Southwest. Oliver was at the top of his list, and Dumas agreed, collaborating with the artist on a print featuring a turkey. The current edition, La Vie sauvage du Texas, is the 17th in the now historied series, and celebrates the state’s wildlife.

The design was produced in four colors in an edition of 2,000 each, and is available now in Hermès Dallas and Houston stores. The rest of us non-Texans can snatch one up when they become available nationwide this coming fall–that is, of course, if they don’t sell out per usual to the brand and artist’s Texan fans. As a nod to the inspiration behind the print, portion of scarf sales benefits the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute.

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The newest design

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A past design

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Another iteration

 

Nike + Yuko Kanatani

We interrupt this New York Fashion Week with news of a sportswear collaboration that I find to be absolutely brilliant. Nike—king of great branding—looked to Japan for inspiration for its most recent concept for the Nike Tight of the Moment line. The premise behind the franchise as a whole is an “exercise in exploration…through experimentation with unique patterns, colors and inspirations…elevat[ing] the intersection of athletic performance and artistic design.” Yuko Kanatani‘s work, which is quite playful and colorful, married perfectly with this mission, leading Nike to tap Kanatani to design three new tights, marking the brand’s first collaboration with an independent artist for the line.

The directive from the brand, however, was more than just to design any old pattern. Instead, the artist was asked to tailor her illustrations to a “body map,” which uses athlete-informed data to show the location of an individual’s muscles and heating and cooling zones.  The first of the three designs, “Nike Tight of the Moment-Magical Kaleidoscope,” features pops of colors and shapes aimed to highlight leg muscles in a flattering fashion (you can read about her inspiration here). As if the collaboration weren’t already technical enough, Nike then used digital sublimation technology, which employs a heat press to send ink from a printed picture onto a piece of fabric, to transfer Yuko’s art onto the tights.

The Magical Kaleidoscope was just released a few weeks ago, and is available in the Nike Pro Tight and Nike Pro Sports Bra in select stores and online. The remaining two designs from the collaboration will be released in the upcoming months. For now, check out the amazing campaign shots below.

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DVF + Andy Warhol

Diane von Furstenberg knows how to throw a party. Or perhaps—more appropriately—a celebration. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of her iconic wrap dress, the designer commissioned various artists to create works inspired by the frock’s notable legacy, to be included in the exhibition “Journey of a Dress,” which opened last Friday  in L.A. In addition (because, why stop there?), the designer launched a limited-edition collection in collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation.

On view at the historic Wilshire May Company building (which will soon be the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures) next to the LACMA campus, the exhibition features hundreds of contemporary versions of the wrap dress in front of walls lined floor-to-ceiling with DVF’s patterns. Also on view are commemorative works by Dustin Yellin, Julian Opie, Francisco Clemente, Barbara Kruger, Anh Duong, and other notable contemporary artists. In particular, Yellin’s “A Ghost May Come” includes thousands of scraps of scanned magazine and newspaper articles about von Furstenberg cut into small shapes that from a few steps away look exactly like wrap dress’ iconic chain-link print. In addition, the exhibition includes seven vintage portraits of DVF by Andy Warhol, a close friend. When thinking about a unique, limited edition collection to further honor this special moment in fashion, a collaboration with the Warhol Foundation was an obvious choice. Pop Wrap: DVF + Andy Warhol, as the collection has been called, combines traditional Warholian motifs—specifically, the flower and dollar sign—with DVF’s most well-known patterns onto dresses, jumpsuits, bags and t-shirts. Best to snap up that piece you have your eye on before it too becomes another note in the book of fashion history.

Well, that’s a wrap.

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The entrance hall to the exhibition; photo via WWD

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Wrap dresses on view at the exhibition; photo via WWD

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DVF at the opening of her exhibition; photo via LA Times/Getty Images

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Dresses & a bag from the Pop Wrap collection

Art I’m Loving: Christoper Wool

Today I finally made my way to the Guggenheim here in New York to see the Christopher Wool retrospective. I have always loved Wool’s work, which I’ve most often seen hanging in private collections. Recently, however, I have been happy to see his immediately-recognizable paintings popping up everywhere, including Christie’s recent record-breaking $691 million evening sale, during which a personal record was set for the artist, who’s Apocalypse Now sold for $26 million, blowing away the $20 million high estimate.

The current landscape of contemporary art is littered with artists who work  in a variety of mediums, however painting as a medium is often thought of as outdated. The reason I am so drawn to Wool’s work is because in his practice he consistently addresses the complexities of painting while playing with various processes. Wool emerged on the New York art scene in the 1980s, and the anarchic punk influences from around that time period can easily be seen in his work.

The Guggenheim exhibition aggregates works that showcase each of the distinctive processes he has explored over the course of his 30 plus-year career. In the late 80s he used “paint rollers incised with floral and geometric designs to transfer patterns in severe black enamel to a white ground.” What I love about this body of work is that he allows for imperfections on his canvases even within this mechanized framework. The show also displays a selection of his iconic text-as-subject series, in which he stenciled words and phrases in a geometric grid, “freely stripp[ing] out punctuation, disrupt[ing] conventional spacing, and remov[ing] letters.” In addition, the exhibition highlights some of Wool’s incredible silkscreens, a process most predominantly used by the artist over the past 15 years. It was during this time Wool also started incorporating his familiar looping lines, applied haphazardly with a spray gun.

If you haven’t had a chance to see this incredibly organized show, I highly recommend visiting before it closes on January 22, 2014. Below is a difficultly-edited selection of some of the pictures I took.

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I love how the works were hung – as if they are floating throughout the rotunda

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Paint roller patterns

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Truth.

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Spray-gun + paint = stunning

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A series of his stenciled words

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View of the installation in the rotunda

Jason Wu + Nate Lowman

ACRIA—an organization founded in 1991 with a mission to pioneer the newest HIV health education and therapies, and get that information and those drugs into the hands of the people who need them the most—has benefited from the enduring support of the fashion and art community since its inception. Many artists donate works to the nonprofit to sell, into order to raise funds to help achieve their mission. It comes as no surprise, then, that two leaders in the art and fashion community have teamed up to create a limited edition t-shirt sold exclusively on ACRIA’s website to benefit the Young Friends of ACRIA (YFA). Wu sits on the Leadership Committee of the YFA, an organization for professionals under 50 interested in advancing ACRIA’s mission. The shirt comes in multiple sizes ranging from Extra Small to Large. Snatch up this awesome collaborative tee and support a great cause at the same time!

Limited edition tee designed by Jason Wu and Nate Lowman

The limited edition tee designed by Jason Wu and Nate Lowman

Chanel’s Art-Meets-Fashion Spring 2014 Collection

It’s true. There are times when material objects overwhelm me with an intense desperation of want, so that I could be swayed to spend an unreasonable amount of money just to have said object immediately in my possession. More often than not, those objects happen to be works of contemporary art, or works of Chanel. Karl Lagerfeld must have known this when envisioning his Spring 2014 RTW collection presentation, which was set in an enormous, self-created art gallery in the Grand Palais filled with similarly enormous artworks, all 75 of which were created by Karl himself. “The idea came from people who overreact to art today. It’s all become a little too much,” Lagerfeld said during a preview, according to WWD. He made small-scale pieces over the course of the summer that were then replicated by his team into the large-scale paintings and sculptures that lined the white walls of the runway. The works each referenced iconic motifs of the Chanel brand — though some more obviously than others, such as the logo dripping with pearls and the bottle of No. 5.

While the display of his art might have had a satirical undertone, there is no doubt that the 89 looks in the collection were just as much works of art as the paintings on the walls of a museum. Particularly, as Style.com’s Tim Blanks noted, “transformations the Chanel atelier achieved with the signature tweeds were nothing short of art. In fact, they weren’t even tweed as we know it: They were some indefinable multi-processed hybrid of de- and reconstructed stuff that was then mounted on tulle to create outfits that were identifiable as iconic Chanel.” Try educating the sales staff at Saks or Bergdorfs in how to explain that intricate process to a customer. Infusing art into his collection even further, his color palette inspiration stemmed from the bold hues in a vintage paint sample board, which was itself even reproduced as a print in the collection. Watch the entire presentation here, and then comment below on your take on the debate, “is fashion art?”

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Models walking past the infinite array of artworks

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Lagerfeld taking his final bow amid his masterpieces

A few runway looks

A few runway looks

Prada + Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst – former YBA’er and frequent fashion collaborator (read past posts here and here) – recently collaborated with Miucia Prada on an installation entitled  “Prada Oasis and Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy Juice Bar” as part of a major retrospective of the artist’s work in Doha, Qatar. The pop-up is based on a modern-day pharmacy, though the structure takes inspiration from a Bedouin tent and is thus a little more appropriate for its erection in the Qatari desert.

The installation – which remain open only temporarily to mark the opening of the retrospective – served as a representational revival of Hirst’s Pharmacy restaurant, which opened in 1998 and eventually closed in 2003 due to mismanagement. The “Prada Oasis” portion of the pop-up referred to a connecting store capsule collection of bags co-designed by Prada and Hirst. Each of the “Entomology” series of clear Plexiglas totes contains live insects and were made in editions of 20, with sales proceeds benefitting Reach Out to Asia, an organization focused on improving youth’s access to education in the Middle East and Asia.

The retrospective, entitled Relics, is being held in the Al Riwaq exhibition space and assembles the largest collection ever of Hirst’s work. The show will be on view through January 22, 2014.

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Prada Oasis and Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy Juice Bar

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The “Entomology” Handbags

Grey Area + Stella McCartney

I’m going to take us back a few months to spotlight an awesome intermingling of art and fashion by Stella McCartney, a pioneer in uniting the two fields both visually in her designs and experientially in her fashion presentations.

For her pre-fall presentation, McCartney teamed up with Grey Area, who commissioned three artists to enrich the atmosphere through live painting. Artists Miguel Fábrega, John Gordon Gauld and Catherine Delphia each worked behind an easel to capture McCartney’s garments on their canvas. Come September, when the clothes hit stores, the designer showed the resultant artworks from the presentation in her flagship store in SoHo alongside the collection that inspired them, with a portion of proceeds benefiting The Drawing Center.

A few editions and originals are still available for purchase on Grey Area’s website.

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John Gordon Gauld, Muses in the Parlor #7

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Miguel Fábrega, Estrella y las Ninas V

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Catherine Delphia, Untitled (Pink)

Images via Grey Area