L.A. artists Sam Borkson and Arturo Sandoval, better known as FriendsWithYou, are celebrated for their bright aesthetic and out-of-the-box approach to public art. Among their Technicolor site-specific installations is an interactive, inflatable world that appeared at the end of the High Line Park and in the Mondrian’s pool for Art Basel Miami Beach. Although they have worked in many mediums—print, video, sculpture, and painting included—the recent Miami-transplants are getting two-dimensional for their latest project: a monograph with Rizzoli. But, despite the simple title We are FriendsWithYou, don’t expect the retrospective volume to be flat. “We wanted to add an element of interactivity,” says Sandoval of the book, which is covered in a mirror-like material. “We considered it as an object as much as a book.”
Once past the reflective shell, FriendsWithYou world unfolds through images of select project from their prolific 12-year history, accompanied by visual descriptions by Borkson and Sandavall and personal essays by admirers like Pharrell Williams. Cheerful and exuberant, their work seems to deliberately contrast the often-satirical nature of contemporary art, however Borkson and Sandoval see it a different way. “People tend to put our work in this superficial box because they don’t think something happy can’t have depth, but we don’t see it that way,” explains Borkson. “Our work like the world is layered.” Clap along.
We Are FriendsWithYou, $55, Paul Kasmin Gallery’s PK Shop**
Friends Forever: Inside FriendsWithYou’s Rizzoli Monograph
Cloudy, 2012. Courtesy of Rizzoli.
Rainbow King in Central Park, 2010. Courtesy of Rizzoli.
Pipo Body Spirit, 2007. Courtesy of Rizzoli.
All the Wishes, 2012. Courtesy of Rizzoli.
Dream Maker, 2008. Courtesy of Rizzoli.
Starburst, 2010. Courtesy of Rizzoli.