In 2006, Dakis Joannou, the founder of the Athens-based Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, conceived a format for a fashion collection by which, each year, an artist would choose five fashion items (which would be acquired by Deste) and then interpret the pieces through some kind of artwork. Last year, with a roster of “curators” comprised of creative directors M/M Paris, photographer Juergen Teller, designer-turned-artist Helmut Lang, poet Patrizia Cavalli, and filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari, Joannou decided he wanted to exhibit the collection, and approached Dennis Freedman, Barneys’ Creative Director and an advisor on the project since its inception, for ideas.
“So I said, ‘Wait a minute, I have six windows, each 15’ x 10’ x 16’,’” said Freedman at the opening last night of Barneys’ month-long window installations designed by each of the artists. “He loved the idea.”
The exhibit, which features site-specific work, includes M/M Paris’ drawings of a Comme des Garçons bunny hat and Balenciaga lego heel; a 12-foot photograph of Yves Saint Laurent, who passed away the year that Teller was the curator; and Lang’s 2009 installation, entitled Front Row, of five fold-up chairs. “Mixing art and fashion is very tricky,” said Lang, amid a crowd that included Maurizio Cattellan, Craig McDean, and the Proenza Schouler boys. “But I think they did a good job.”
Photos: McCollough and Hernandez: BFA; Lang: Tom Sibley