ART & DESIGN

Misha Kahn Is a Mall Rat


Photographer: Dustin Aksland

After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design in 2011, artist Misha Kahn, 26, exploded on to the design scene with his radically styled furniture. But while his inflated mirrors and confetti-stuffed benches demonstrate his ability to mix opulence with humor, it’s his jewelry that perhaps offers the most intriguing window into his process-driven practice. At an upcoming pop-up shop at Gallery Loupe, Kahn will unveil his most up-to-date work—a collection of pieces inspired by strip mall culture. Here, he offers a studio tour and preview.

Misha Kahn’s “Mall Girl” runs from June 17th-20th at Gallery Loupe’s Pop Up Space at 2 Rivington Street, New York, galleryloupe.com.

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Photographer: Dustin Aksland

Artist Misha Kahn in his Brooklyn studio.

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Photographer: Dustin Aksland

“I’ve been in this space for 3 years now—it’s my flop house. This space has seen so much trauma.”

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Photographer: Dustin Aksland

“I tend to make one-use molds—it’s a really efficient way to produce something that is one of a kind. Most of the time, I’m not so determined that I want something to come out a certain way. I like the surprise. I don’t think most designers or artists are that flexible. Of course, the flipside is that a lot of stuff gets thrown away.”

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Photographer: Dustin Aksland

“This is the ‘Mall Girl Show.’ It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. I started working on it when I was at a residency in Wheaton, New Jersey. The whole town is a strip mall. I grew up in such a different environment. I became kind of obsessed with the idea of the mall as a sole space for escapism and entertainment. I think for a lot of America it’s where people get most of their creative input.”

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Photographer: Dustin Aksland

“These are going to be the perfume bottles. They get little hairdos for caps. I’ve been looking on eBay for ‘90s Lucky’s Body Spray, which seems important. It also has to smell a little like a Cinnabon. Maybe B.O.? I don’t want to mix too many scents because they’ll overpower the ambient smell of sizing and dirty cars.”

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Photographer: Dustin Aksland

“I remember sitting in food courts as a kid and being bored. You make little sculptures with your trash. They end up being these things that are compositions, non-compositions.”

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Photographer: Dustin Aksland

“These little sculptures will get electroformed and turned into pins. I feel like if I can get young people to wear brooches that would be cool.”

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Photographer: Dustin Aksland

“When looking at art pieces, I like things that sit a little awkwardly, but with jewelry you have to consider the way it sits on the body. Scale becomes a trial and error.”

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Photographer: Dustin Aksland

“I think it’s almost unethical to draw from nature. Nature is so incredible and beautiful, so whatever you make is just some shitty facsimile. I employ a lot of artificial crap in a way that feels almost like I’m using earthy materials.”

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Photographer: Dustin Aksland

“I was hoping the little neoprene pieces kind of looked like those silver Tiffany beans. Maybe that is passé?”

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Photographer: Dustin Aksland

“I find it interesting how mall jewelry stores, like Kay Jewelers, are always set up like art galleries, with all those glass boxes on pedestals.”