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.
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. Photo via Public Art Fund.
The limited-edition Jeff Koons bag for H&M
Remember when I got all excited when H&M announced they would be collaborating with Mason Martin Margiela for holiday 2012? Well, the discount clothier just released images of the entire collection, and I must say I am happy to see that the designer stuck to his avant garde aesthetic for this mass market collection. And what launch is complete without a fabulous party? On Tuesday, H&M converted nine floors of 5 Beekman Place into a fashion-meets-performance art extravaganza, with big-name celebs hitting the red carpet to support the cult designer. Sarah Jessica Parker, Julianne Moore, Alexander Wang, Kanye (sans Kim, but decked in a coat from the collection), and other A-listers were able to take in sculptural installations by contemporary artists including Daniel Arsham as well as shop the entire collection two weeks before it hits stores. And since no party is complete without a rainstorm of confetti falling down the open atrium connecting the floors of the building, they had one of those too. For those of us regular folk who have to wait until the collection hits stores to make a purchase, all we can do is stake out our favorites while we wait.
Ladies Duvet Coat
Mens leather belt jacket
Ladies mirrored leggings
Ladies glove clutch
Ladies fusion of two dresses
Kanye in a coat from the collection at the launch party
I was a bit surprised by this collaboration announcement. Margiela’s designs are typically intricate, detailed, and avant-garde to the point they are less about wearability and more like artistic creations that represent an underlying idea, concept, or artistic intent. He is known for his use of unconventional materials and commitment to form over function in a rejection of the commerciality of fashion. Margiela’s designs have been displayed in museums across the world. His first solo exhibition was held at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam in 1997 (which I visited this past March en route to Maastricht art fair and is stunning). Since that exhibition, his works have been shown at the MoMU Fashion Museum in Antwerp, Somerset House in London, and ModeMuseum in Antwerp. Margiela designs can be found in teh collection at the Costume Institute at the Met, and he contributed an installation to an exhibition at the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage in 1999 entitled “Exposing Meaning in Fashion Through Presentation”, organized by gallerist Andrea Rosen. Clearly, MMM has successfully blurred the distinction between artist and designer and art and fashion.
Astonishment aside, I could not be more excited to see what this incredibly talented and inspired designer will create for a mass audience.A sketch of a turtleneck “darted sweater” from the collection can be viewed in a video the brand posted on youtube to confirm the collaboration, noting also that the line will hit stores November 15.
Below are a few looks from the Margiela’s Fall 2012 RTW collection (for a peak at what the more well-to-do will be wearing from the designer); for the rest of us, expect a line out the door at your nearest H&M on November 15th!