So often nowadays we happen upon some interesting, contemporary and whimsical objects in art galleries only to discover the artistic roots can be traced to skateboarding and graffiti. And such is the case with an exhibit labeled, “American Chateau,” a collaboration between Jamie Hayon and Nienke Klunder. And though it may seem like instinctive raw talent advanced their career, it’s also often the case that like Hayon and Klunder, along the way they attended design school or art school.
As a teenager, Hayon from Spain was a skateboarder and tagger a.k.a. graffiti artist. After design school he designed everything from wallpaper to shops and restaurants among others. He worked for recognizable names like Swarovski, Baccarat and Lladro. Klunder, of California birth and Dutch upbringing went to the Breda Fine Art Academy. Her work spans a wide spectrum of sculpture, photography and drawings.
Both artists works have been exhibited in galleries around Europe but their collaboration is an unusual yet not unexpected mix of fun and whimsical yet supposedly practical offerings. Perhaps the most unusual piece is a hot dog sculpture that is meant to be ridden rocking-horse style. Imagine buying fine art for your toddler to rock around the house on. Then there is the table that is shaped like a limousine but its legs are shaped in the Macdonald’s arches.
These are the sorts of objects that are real conversation pieces, guaranteed to provide much entertainment at your next party. But it turns out, not all art critics agree. They are convinced that instead of being whimsical and fun, art should be serious, expressing the artist’s darkest emotions. So for them the “American Chateau” pieces are somewhat kitschy and shallow. As always, everyone doesn’t have to like everything.
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