In 2001 Prada opened the New York Epicenter, designed by Rem Koolhaas, a space that redefined shopping as cultural entertainment. A boutique, an exhibition space and a meeting place, the first Epicentre created a new benchmark for the luxury industry. Mr. Koolhaas channelled Ms. Prada’s vision of an open space to the public when actual shopping experience was ancillary to the cultural value of the space itself. Ten years on, when commercial activity has invaded both public spaces and cultural institutions, the Epicenter offers the possibility for public functions and exhibitions to reclaim the territory of shopping. The entire length of the ground floor of the space allows for a rapid change of the environment with wallpapers.
Marcela Gutierrez is the latest artist to contribute to the Epicenter with her work titled Stain (2011). Inspired by illustrations adorning classic bodice-rippers and pulp fiction paperbacks, ‘Stain’ features super-sized close-cropped watercolor portraits of Prada models in a swirl of color that border on the lurid. The collage is comprised of fragments of original paintings by illustrator Marcela Gutierrez recombined in a full-wall composition.
2×4 is a multidisciplinary design studio in New York City founded by Michael Rock, Susan Sellers and Georgie Stout in 1993. Spanning print, technology, multimedia and environment, 2×4 now focuses on projects related to art, culture and design worldwide.
Partner Michael Rock and 2×4 have worked in close collaboration with Prada and OMA/AMO for over ten years on projects ranging from special wallpapers, print material, fashion show environments, web experiences, films/animations, and events. In 2009 2×4 helped realize the Prada book, a special book cataloging Prada’s work over the last 30 years.
Ten Wallpapers for the past ten years/ A selection
NOTORIOUS WOMEN, 2006
GUILT INC., 2005
NEW MASTERS, 2009
ALMOST BLUE, 2010
MASKED/HOODED WOMEN, 2007
Nicolas Saint Gregoire’s exhibition, “Art Couture,” combines the artist’s passion for design and his own practice as an artist. This exhibition pays tribute to Yves Saint Laurent whom, for Saint Grégoire, has been a major influence on his practice as well as a friend. Nicolas, who is mentored by Pierre Bergé, president of the Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent Foundation, started his research in 2008 when he was given exclusive access to the YSL archives. The 1960’s Pop Art Collection, which was inspired by iconic works of Mondrian, Braque, and Wesselmann, is the starting point of this journey. Saint Gregoire has transformed these iconic dresses to light sculptures using cold cathode tube lighting and Perspex. At the opening of “Art Couture,” I had a very interesting conversation with the artist who told me about his friendship with Mr. Saint Laurent and Mr. Bergé, a couple not only famous for having established one of the most prestigious brands in the world but also for their quest in collecting art as well as inspiring artists. Nicolas pretends that he doesn’t know much about fashion but the contrary became evident from his words of admiration for what Saint Laurent created both from an artistic and commercial standpoint; something unique that not many other designers could recreate. Mr. Bergé once said that Yves Saint Laurent was the last couturier and that no one has emerged since. I asked Nicolas whether he believes in what his mentor said. The answer is an emphatic explanation of that statement made by someone with a lifelong passion and reverence for an artist, a partner and a brand. The conversation echoed the rivalry between Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld and their cliques of friends, artists and bon vivants – beautifully described in The beautiful Fall, a fantastic book by Alicia Drake (Bloomsbury, 2006) on the excess of the Paris fashion world in the 70’s.
Cold cathode tube lighting and Perspex - 160 x 60 cm
Wesselmann 2 -2011 Cold cathode tube lighting and Perspex 200 x 72 cm
NICOLAS SAINT GREGOIRE
Art Couture in association with Fondation Pierre Bergé / Yves Saint Laurent
An off-site exhibition | Gallery 27 | 27 Cork Street Mayfair, London W1
12-24 September 2011