When architect Rem Koolhaas has a book out titled “The Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping” you know that shopping is not what it used to be. And by extension, neither is the retail store. There is no better example of this than the Diesel Denim Gallery. Half retail store, half art gallery, this hybrid prototype ushers in a new kind of store that is all about the experience and creating an inspiring environment. Here, the boundaries are blurred between commerce and art. Do you want to buy a pair of jeans or a photograph? Or both? In fact, the Denim Gallery showcases a limited edition of its denim products that are hand-stamped with personal identity information upon purchase. This sets up a parallel between limited edition prints of artists’ work and limited edition clothes. The goal to link Diesel to the contemporary art scene and have each inform and reflect on the other begins to take effect.
The Diesel Gallery on 68 Greene Street in New York City’s Soho opened with its first show titled “Trav’lin All Alone” on October 2nd to a packed house. The crowd, almost exclusively in their 20’s and 30’s and sporting many a pair of Diesel jeans, spilled outside the gallery onto the streets. Sebastien Agneessens, the founder of Formavision, curated the show and enlisted the help of Duggal, who sponsored the show. Trav’lin All Alone, a multimedia exhibition by the French artist Zabaleta, is “the trashy and raw video diary of the artist, who depicts himself as an old young man who never got the impression of taking part in anything in his life.” Zabaleta wallpapered one entire wall of the gallery on which hung a series of his digitally manipulated photographs.
The gallery will be showcasing the work of emerging young artists with a new show every two months. Each show will then travel to the Milan and Tokyo Denim Galleries.
Diesel has always been a pioneer when it comes to how they market their brand. Always at the forefront of design, their advertising campaigns have won numerous awards, including the Advertiser of the Year at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival and the Grand Prix in 1997 and 2001. If their cutting edge sensibility in the past is a key to the future, then we must assume that this chimerical paradigm of art and retail store is here to stay.
Diesel Denim Gallery
Address: 68 Greene Street, New York, NY