See Takashi Murakami And Virgil Abloh’s Collaboration For The Art Of Wishes
If there are two names who get high fashion and fine art pulses racing, it’s Virgil Abloh and Takashi Murakami. Abloh has elevated streetwear to a heroic level at Louis Vuitton and Off-White, going so far as to collaborate with Chicago’s Museum Of Contemporary Art, while for years Murakami has plastered his super-flat emoji-like smiley flowers over canvases, trainers, T-shirts, album covers and just about anything placed in his path. The two share a hip-hop-influenced graphic sensibility and have known each other for years – both are among Kanye West’s most acclaimed collaborators and Murakami worked with Vuitton long before Abloh came on board – so it only makes sense that they would work together. Now, their 2018 collaboration on a piece named "Illusion, Arrows And Flower" will be sold at Phillips in London in aid of Make-A-Wish UK, a charity that arranges one-off experiences for children with serious or terminal illnesses.
With roots in other “found object” works, "Illusion, Arrows And Flower" comprises a wall-mounted fan with lasers projected onto its spinning blades in the shape of the creators’ respective calling cards (Murakami’s flower face and the four-point Off-White logo). The holographic designs rotate slowly on the circular plane created by the spinning fan blades, calling to mind an illuminated pharmacist’s sign made up of LEDs.
With a starting bid of £50,000, “Illusion, Arrows And Flower” is one of the highest-profile lots in Make-A-Wish’s The Art Of Wishes sale, which includes 22 artists in all, Ai Weiwei among them. Ai’s “Bowl Of Pearls” – starting at a heady £290,000 – sits in the centre of the room, beside a “wishing tree”, from which children’s Make-A-Wish applications have been suspended by ribbons. Beside each work in the sale is the story of a particular child for whom the charity has acted; the effect is both disconcerting and grounding, bridging the gap between the hefty estimates and the real-world impact the money will have on the lives of children with leukaemia, severe epilepsy, cystic fibrosis and other life-changing illnesses.
Alongside conceptual artist Ian Kiaer’s lurid salmon canvas, for example, is the story of two teenagers who met in hospital whilst being treated for kidney disease and awaiting transplants, who decided to go on holiday to Israel together. James Turrell’s concrete sculpture is paired with a testament to an eleven-year-old from Worcestershire who had afternoon tea with astronaut Tim Peake. And some works are linked visually or thematically to a wish – a 14-year-old boy’s wish for a gaming computer is paired with a hyperrealistic black-and-white oil and varnish painting of a PS4 controller.
The Art Of Wishes is open to the public today at Phillips in London and all artworks in the sale can be viewed on Artsy.