ABOVE: IMAGE COURTESY OF CYNTHIA ROWLEY
Exhibition paraphernalia—the mugs and mousepads and other tchotchkes sold at museum gift shops and studiously avoided by good galleries—tend, we’re afraid, to skew very uncool. Thank goodness, then, for this notable exception: a T-shirt dress, which designer Cynthia Rowley is offering at Colette starting this week to coincide with Gagosian’s mega-Damien Hirst show (across all 11 gallery locations), “The Complete Spot Paintings 1986–2011,” which collects more than 300 of the spot paintings Hirst has made over the last 25 years.
The silk-jersey dress is a collaboration with artist Olaf Breuning. The faint screenprint of a nude female figure underlaying the dots draws inspiration from Breuning’s exhibition last fall at New York’s Metro Pictures gallery, “The Art Freaks.” Breuning’s show featured 22 photos of nude models the artist had painted in the styles of 20th-century artists; Hirst and his dots were among those who made the cut. (Breuning doesn’t seem too concerned about the anxiety of influence: “I’ve always liked colored dots, with or without Damien Hirst,” he says.)
“The Physical Impossibility of Damien Hirst in the Mind of Olaf Breuning feels like an appropriate title for this project, if we were to give it one,” Rowley quips. She adds that she’s looking forward to the Hirst exhibitions: “I remember his opening at Lever House was such fun.”
It’s not the first time Rowley, Breuning, and Gagosian have found collaborative harmony: Rowley and Breuning worked together in 2010 on MoMA PS1’s “MOVE!,” a series of temporary installations, and paint-splattered denim dresses from the effort were sold in—you guessed it—Gagosian’s shop. The art world really is as small as they say—and if we happen to see a woman wearing Rowley’s new creation, we’ll know she gets it.