FINE CAN­VAS

Jeff Koons and Louis Vuit­ton un­veil a sec­ond in­stal­ment of art­ful hand­bags

S/ - - CONTENTS - BY SAHAR NOORAEI

As one of the most po­lar­iz­ing fig­ures

in the art world, Jeff Koons con­tin­ues to chal­lenge us to think about fine art in broader terms, through works that are in­no­va­tive and some­times con­tro­ver­sial. This past spring marked the de­but of Masters, a lux­u­ri­ous line of bags and ac­ces­sories by Louis Vuit­ton de­signed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Koons, and in­spired by the Amer­i­can artist’s Gaz­ing Ball paint­ings. The pop­u­lar­ity and fas­ci­na­tion sur­round­ing the col­lec­tion sub­se­quently and un­sur­pris­ingly prompted a sec­ond chap­ter. Launched in Oc­to­ber, this lat­est se­ries finds some of Louis Vuit­ton’s most beloved hand­bag styles dressed in his­toric paint­ings from cher­ished fine-art lu­mi­nar­ies—François Boucher, Paul Gau­guin, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Ni­co­las Poussin, and J.M.W. Turner—whose mas­ter­pieces are as un­matched as the iconic lug­gage maker (and Koons him­self). As with the first col­lec­tion, the sig­na­ture LV mono­gram has also been re­con­fig­ured to bear Koons’ ini­tials. Here, the con­tem­po­rary artist ex­pands on the phi­los­o­phy be­hind the col­lec­tion.

ON HIS DE­SIGN PROCESS:

“One of the things I re­ally en­joyed about work­ing with Louis Vuit­ton on these bags is that both of us have great de­sire to use craft, ma­te­ri­als, and de­tail to com­mu­ni­cate what we re­ally care about. I care about the viewer and the owner of the bag—not de­tail for de­tail’s sake and be­ing able to make a stitch per­fect. I hope some­body who sees a bag or ac­quires a bag can emo­tion­ally feel this con­nec­tiv­ity and a sense of union, and not just with the artist of that bag.”

ON HIS IN­SPI­RA­TION:

“The Gaz­ing Ball se­ries is a body of work that deals with hu­man­ism. The dif­fer­ent im­ages that I worked with for my Gaz­ing Ball paint­ings, and there­fore made into the Masters Col­lec­tion with Louis Vuit­ton, are works that rep­re­sent my artis­tic DNA. By rep­re­sent­ing these cel­e­brated pieces of art on Louis Vuit­ton bags, we in­vite view­ers to con­sider these works anew, open­ing the mu­seum to the world and en­cour­ag­ing us to ex­pe­ri­ence the Old Masters in novel ways.”

ON HIS COL­LEC­TION HIGH­LIGHTS:

“Re­clin­ing Girl by François Boucher is a paint­ing my fam­ily and I go to visit of­ten in the old Alte Pi­nakothek in Mu­nich. It al­ways strikes me as one of the most sen­sual im­ages ever painted. Paul Gau­guin’s De­light­ful Land is a pow­er­ful im­age that fea­tures a pro­found rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Eve, and, at the same time, de­picts the artist’s per­sonal iconog­ra­phy through its use of sym­bol­ism and colour. Manet has al­ways been one of the most im­por­tant artists to me. To work with the im­ages of Lun­cheon on the Grass gave me the op­por­tu­nity to em­pha­size the im­por­tance of artists giv­ing it up to each other. Within

Lun­cheon on the Grass, Manet is re­fer­ring to Ti­tian’s Pas­toral Con­cert, as well as Rai­mondi’s en­grav­ing the Judg­ment of Paris, which was based on a draw­ing by Raphael. It’s a his­tory of hu­man­ism, of artists en­joy­ing each other’s work, and learn­ing to find their way through each other.”

ON THE FU­TURE OF ART AND FASH­ION:

“The idea of be­ing able to have ap­pre­ci­a­tion for things that came be­fore us, for things out­side the self—that lets us have tran­scen­dence and be­come broader. And it lets us change our own be­ing. I be­lieve that through ideas we can change our­selves. I can be­come a bet­ter per­son and I be­lieve I can pass that on to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Right now, in science we know that we can morph our mind: our genes can morph tem­po­rar­ily. We haven’t been able to show that we can pass it on, but I know emo­tion­ally that this hap­pens.” Louis Vuit­ton, MASTERS, A Col­lab­o­ra­tion with Jeff Koons is avail­able at se­lect Louis Vuit­ton stores.

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