C77 - Can you tell me a bit about the on/off installation
at ICFF? How was coordinating a multi-site installation? Was the
multiple crucial to the piece?
TW - Coordinating the on/off installation needed a special
talent of its own. I had to approach each gallery/showroom with
a different strategy. I had to sell them back their own style with
my idea. Romantically, it was very successful. All I wanted to do
was break down the barriers within our own design community, the
one I had gotten to know. When you sell work to one company, it's
usually considered taboo to be represented by another. There's a
lot of friction caused by exclusivity. I wanted the challenge of
having one identical product in many competing stores, and, to further
the challenge, I pushed it with something that turned out to be
product-less. Most everyone enjoyed the idea and accepted the installation-Diesel
created a special denim lamp for the occasion. I was extremely happy
with this project. It was successful-but canned beans still give
C77 - Tell us about your new gig with Troy. How did this
come about? What are you planning?
TW - Troy Halterman (owner of the TROY store in SoHo, New
York) requested a copy of my book for his showroom to exhibit during
the 2002 ICFF. The day before his opening, I swung by the store
(without an appointment) carrying two glass chairs I had just finished.
He took those from me on the spot and included them in the show.
He told me to invoice him without even asking for numbers. I was
impressed with his charisma.
Shortly after the ICFF, he asked me to design a collection of 10
products. I told him that I was interested in projects that dealt
with the ready-designed, consumerism/consumption, and the border
between art and design. I proposed to curate a collection of 20
products: one third my own, the rest from other artist/designers
or things that I liked. A few of my 20 favorite things became a
few of my 50 favorite things. Today, seven weeks into the eight-week
project, we have edited the collection down to 30-something, with
one installation and one unique gift-wrapping service. I've taken
the opportunity to really give his image a kick, which has never
been discussed, but I think that's the main reason I was asked to
do the collection.
C77 - Can you describe the "unique gift-wrapping service?"
TW - The TROY exclusive gift-wrap service is the thing I'm
most excited about: "We will wrap your purchase with an original
Andy Warhol print." It's ridiculous, but works in so many ways.
It speaks to the idea of luxury consumption (the price will be between
$5000 and $20,000 per wrap), and the marketing strategy really extends
Warhol's ideas on consumption. I want to remind people why we appreciate
his work and what made it great. We seem to forget the major reasons
why we like certain artists and what they did. It's gotten to the
point where work is like symbols we recognize as good or bad, but
with no real explanation. I wanted to counteract that. I believe
that Warhol would very much approve of this project-its all about
C77 - Furniture/housewares is the typical cross-over point
for artists into design, not to mention those legions of architects.
Why? Specifically why for you?
TW - Because people are actually listening there. It's also
neutral ground that is open to everyone. It's non-threatening and
C77 - Any thoughts about how other areas of "traditional"
industrial design, like automotive, sports equipment, packaging,
etc., might be affected by this cross-over?
TW - It shakes them up. Now that artists and designers are
crossing over to other disciplines within industrial design, everyone
is forced to learn from the other. Competition is good.
Romantically-speaking, one day everyone will know how to design
everything-but then not everyone will choose to do so. This will
make us better consumers, communicators, etc. and, in the end, better
thinkers. But we're very far away from that fairytale.
C77 - About your new book-Karim's a big dude, and that paper
gun won't help much when you two meet up. Have you any secret kung-fu
shit that you'll unleash on him?
TW - As a matter of fact, I'm close to a black belt. My
father started teaching me as a young child. But I still wouldn't
like to tick Karim off-he's a big guy.
I approached him myself and told him that my book wasn't a personal
attack on him or his designs. It's really about post-9/11. His book
just seemed to be the most vulnerable at the time, with its title,
I WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD, which at this time seems a little too
stupid to even be romantic. I'm also tired of everyone forcing themselves
to move on after 9/11. It's not often that the whole world gets
to wake up at once. It seems like a perfectly good time to take
back a few ideas and ways of thinking without being otherwise embarrassed
about them later.
I'm not claming to have the answer on what happens post-9/11, and
what will become of art and design. But it sure intrigues me. I
wanted to mark it.
Another interesting deal about the book is that my publisher, Robert
The, is actually the original artist who cuts books into guns. He's
very well known in the art world and is collected by the MoMA, Walker,
and others. So it was a real privilege to have him do my book. Within
my work, that's like killing two birds with one stone.
C77 - Talk to us about a few more of your projects...
The mirror/clock derived from my desire to create a painting. I've
tried before, in the traditional sense, but failed. So I reexamined
what a painting consists of-background, middle ground, and foreground.
I used design elements instead of paint, and voil, the mirror/clock.
It's also the only object that I've titled, "untitled"
to give it a traditional reference.
Walter Wayle III was another fun attempt to exercise the ready-designed
that I've been working with. Instead of using another well-known
design piece, I borrowed a design's name. WW II is Starck's clock
with no face, just hands. Alessi made it, but it's been long discontinued.
I thought it would be interesting to call my new clock, with no
hands, a reincarnation of Starck's clock.