Objet d’Art: Pillow Talk

Published September 23, 2016

Every month, Interview picks an artist or designer created object that straddles the line between aesthetics and function. Subdued tastes need not apply.

Multidisciplinary artist Mickalene Thomas is known for her richly detailed, intricate studies of black female sexuality and power. Her paintings, in particular, are marked by their highly textured surfaces; she uses rhinestones and enamel to create an iridescent, 3D facade, which can engender (at least in some of us) a strong desire to run your hand across its surface. As part of a new collaboration with Henzel Studio, the Swedish luxury rug manufacturer, her work has been reimagined as a vibrant pillow, giving 999 buyers the opportunity to get up-close and personal with Clarivel Centered, a painting from 2014.

“In the original painting that this image comes from, Clarivel is reclining in a very lush environment,” Thomas tells us. “I liked the idea of giving the collector the feeling of having this beautiful woman with her seductive and powerful gaze reclining on their bed or sofa.”

Henzel Studio has tapped a diverse body of artists for its pillow project, including Jack Pierson, Marilyn Minter, Helmut Lang, Anselm Reyle, and Juergen Teller. Unlike some of the more 2D-oriented artists, whose work might not immediately lend itself to 3D shape, Thomas’s use of texture—as well as collage and pattern—feels seamless when seen in pillow form. “In this case the fabric provided the texture,” she says. “It was a nice departure to be able to create something of high quality that is much more accessible for people.”

HENZEL STUDIO AND MICKALENE THOMAS’ CLARIVEL CENTERED PILLOW IS AVAILABLE THROUGH ARTSPACE FOR $220. 

Objet D’Art runs every month. For more, click here