Clothing Stores Are the New Art Gallery

Clothing Stores Are the New Art Gallery

A pair of newly opened exhibits on both coasts of the US are bridging the worlds of fashion and art. In Los Angeles, the work of sculptor Misha Kahn is being shown in Dries van Noten's Los Angeles store, which opened last October on N. La Cienega Blvd.

The Belgian designer invited Kahn to showcase his VR-created Claymation furniture and tables lamps rendered in auto-painted resin and ceramic. Titled "Watermelon Party" and on view now until May 6, the exhibit is located in "The Little House" space and reflects Kahn's take on the past year in quarantine from his parents' house in Duluth, Minnesota, where their neighbors invited his family over for a watermelon party.

"In my scatterbrained, depressed stupor of a year, this watermelon party suggested purpose," Kahn said in a statement. "It gave a bunch of random people, grouped together by proximity, an antidote to isolation. In a way, that's what I'm always striving for in my work: an irreverent, all-ages serving of mystery with a big spoonful of why. In my practice, I'm constantly throwing around new materials and processes, forever looking for a binding force, something to explain the why of it all to the outside world. And maybe it's simpler than I thought. Maybe it's just a watermelon party two Tuesdays from now."

Photo: Joshua White/ Courtesy of Dries van Noten

Meanwhile, in New York City, designer Nina Arias is using her SoHo store as the space for an art exhibit featuring five new works by photographer James Welling, which are on display for the first time. On view now until June 30, it's the latest of an ongoing exhibition series at the ARIAS store, which opened at the end of last summer on Broome St and houses the designer's ready-to-wear collections inspired by contemporary art.

"It is with pleasure that I found ARIAS New York after being introduced to Nina Sarin Arias by Wendy Cromwell, a New York-based art advisor," Welling said in a statement. "I'm excited to introduce my most recent work to a new audience. I've lived in Soho on and off since 1978 and I am committed to the power of art to help rebuild and support the city I love."

For her part, Arias is committed to supporting New York's arts and culture scene following a challenging year which saw her open her first store in the middle of a pandemic. "I've long admired James Welling's photography and am thrilled to showcase his works alongside my new Spring/Summer collection," she said. "James is also based in Soho, and we met at the end of last year. I can't imagine a better artist to partner with during this time of renewal and hope that our coming together celebrates communities that inspire us and brings positivity and energy to downtown New York."

Photo: Courtesy of ARIAS New York