Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with the artist raises questions of autonomy, agency, and objecthood.
The artist’s estate sent a cease and desist order to the fashion company for its inclusion of paintings by the artist in a recent ad campaign.
The artist-designed ArtyCapucine bag by Louis Vuitton comes with one of six odd sculptures based on products you can buy in a grocery store.
SAN FRANCISCO — On a hot desert afternoon nothing sounds better than the arctic blast of a shopping center. Yes, it is a “dry heat,” but at 110 degrees, the relevance of humidity levels dissipates. So what store should you go to? If it were me, I’d call Louis Vuitton at City Center and make an appointment to see the new James Turrell! Number one: yes, you read that right — there is a permanent installation by Turrell at Louis Vuitton City Center. Number two: yes, you read that right — you will have to make an appointment to see the work.
On the surface of this well-fueled publicity blitz, Yayoi Kusama is a dotty (pun intended) old grandma all about fun, polka dots and puffy balloons, including her eye-popping window display for the Louis Vuitton store on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. On the inside, which all the W magazine air kisses in the world can’t conceal, Kusama is about decades of raging struggles with precarious mental balance, gender, ethnicity, money, power, class, self-mythology, annihilation, life and death, peppered with a bit of wonder.
Painting, sculpture and drawing have dominated the means of artistic expression since the dawn of time. Of course now everything in between has been used as a medium, but since the big three have remained a staple, it’s been incredible to see a recent resurgence of using fashion objects as the raw materials for art.
I find it exciting when fine art fuses with fashion, and Louis Vuitton’s recently announced collaboration with Yayoi Kusama may produce some spectacularly spotted goods. Interestingly, this pairing coincided with former LV collaborator Takashi Murakami’s newly unveiled installation at Qatar Museums Authority, which witnessed a departure from the Japanese artist’s signature Superflat subject matter.
Looking at the proliferating cross-pollination of fine artists and fashion design (Nan Goldin for Jimmy Choo, Terence Koh for Opening Ceremony, Ai Weiwei for W), we decided to take a look back and remember some of the truly successful collaborations within these two fields.
Designer/artist crossbreeding is nothing new. MAC had Cindy Sherman, Louis Vuitton had Takashi Murakami, and Stella McCartney had Barry Reigate. But for the 65 year-old house of Dior, a new accessories and cosmetics collection made in collaboration with German contemporary artist Anselm Reyle may be a bold new step that will help invigorate the French label.
Pity the poor parents who want to introduce their tots to the work of a contemporary artist like Takashi Murakami. Sure, all those laughing daisies and dancing bears are adorable, but how do you explain to Junior on a Saturday afternoon trip to the museum why that lady’s breasts are so big, or why that blonde dude is twirling a lasso of white stuff that’s coming out of his … uh, never mind.
The story of Louis Vuitton’s recent legal action against 29-year-old Dutch artist Nadia Plesner is a curious one. Not only because Plesner had already been sued by Louis Vuitton in 2008, and not only because it was over her use of the same design, and it involved the same bit of imagery, a starved and platter-eyed young African boy, holding a chihuahua and the Audra bag, à la Paris Hilton, but because Plesner is using the same defense that failed her in 2008 and Louis Vuitton took the same action against her that it did three years ago: an ex parte court ruling against her. But let’s take a closer look.