First came the sneakersheads, then the premier art collectors


“Frankly, I don’t approach these things knowing if they will work,” Abloh said.

The day before, Mr. Abloh, in a camouflage T-shirt and pants, and Mr. Murakami, in baggy sweatshirts and Nike Off-White, had set up the show and discussed their work process.

“My position is, he is the master, I am the work,” Mr. Murakami said. They each gathered with their own thoughts and traded them for each other, and developed ideas quickly.

“From the idea of ​​doing the show to what some of those first pieces would be like, it lasted maybe two minutes,” Mr. Abloh said. The icons of the two men are instantly recognizable in every room – the ubiquitous aerial quotes from Mr. Abloh, the characters from Mr. Murakami – but here they are presented as co-signed works of art, although Mr. Abloh are the clothes and the shoes.

“When I design a shoe, I use ideas of art, whatever I have seen, and that manifests in a shoe,” he said. “Why not cement them into some serious works of art?” This is what these four walls do, more than a retail store. He stopped in front of a sculpture of a Murakami character rising from a base made of an Off-White logo mark. “I could see this in a retail space,” he said. “I could also see him in a billionaire’s house.”

It just might end up in one. Even before the opening of the exhibition, half of the pieces had been sold. “The feedback and results have been incredible,” said Mr. Simunovic, the gallery’s liaison to Mr. Murakami. “We sold a painting today, for example, to a 21-year-old who had never worked with the gallery before. The gallery does not disclose the prices of works of art.


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