Best Bud­dies

WWD Digital Daily - - News -

The line was half a block long, not an un­usual oc­cur­rence at Gagosian Bev­erly Hills, but cer­tainly one that hasn't hap­pened since its Os­car week open­ing fea­tur­ing Damien Hirst in Fe­bru­ary. Wed­nes­day night's open­ing of "Amer­ica Too," the third col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Takashi Mu­rakami and Vir­gil Abloh, drew a small army of fans, most of them young and sev­eral of them fa­mous.

Travis Scott, Kourt­ney Kar­dashian, Usher, Kid Cudi, Or­lando Bloom and Luka Sab­bat were spot­ted in the crowd, which was siz­able in­side, though noth­ing com­pared with the or­derly throng out­side. They were let in a hand­ful at a time, mak­ing it pos­si­ble for as many fans to take in the event as pos­si­ble.

Many of the art­works them­selves, in a va­ri­ety of me­dia, were also over­size, in­clud­ing the giant "Ma­te­rial Too," a take on the Amer­i­can flag, that hung in the cen­ter of the North Gallery. It was prob­a­bly also the big­gest num­ber of iPhones seen at an art open­ing, as young fans ex­cit­edly In­sta­grammed them­selves in front of the col­or­ful works, in­clud­ing Mu­rakami's iconic rain­bow flower, onto which the sig­na­ture ar­rows of Abloh's Off-White la­bel were over­laid, or "Ar­rows and Flower Neon Sign" and a ro­tat­ing piece that blinked like a car­ni­val ride.

While both men were too sur­rounded by han­dlers to con­duct in­ter­views, Mu­rakami, who took a time out in an up­stairs of­fice, smiled and shook hands with well-wish­ers be­fore a mem­ber of his team ush­ered them out.

Down­stairs, Abloh had a comet­tail-like posse trail­ing and record­ing his ev­ery move, even as he tried to shake hands and pose for of­fi­cial pho­tos with the celebri­ties.

In state­ments from the notes on the show, which runs through Oct. 25, Mu­rakami said, "There is a zone of supremacy in the art world and there is a sense that fine art is the most pre­cious and has the high­est sta­tus. My col­lab­o­ra­tion with Vir­gil is try­ing to create some­thing that is com­pletely out­side of that frame­work." Abloh added, "Satire and irony are loom­ing themes that are part of our now. Our di­a­logue is not so much em­bed­ded in the art; it's em­bed­ded in the at­mos­phere that we're cre­at­ing." — MARCY ME­D­INA

Takashi Mu­rakami, Kid Cudi and Vir­gil Abloh.

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