By  on September 4, 2007

Utilizing everything from shopping bags to balloons, windows to wall hangings, Bloomingdale's is transforming itself into a showcase for contemporary art.

Art won't overwhelm the fashion, though the Bloomingdale's campaign, called "Artrageous," will touch advertising, catalogues, mannequins and corporate philanthropy. It also will feature pop-up shops selling products from the store inside the New Museum of Contemporary Art, which opens Dec. 1 at 235 Bowery in Manhattan. Ninety percent of those sales will be donated to the museum, which will also benefit from a silent auction of original signed designer sketches by Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg, Norma Kamali and others, to be displayed in the 59th Street flagship.

Until the early Nineties, Bloomingdale's each fall staged a major promotion typically revolving around importing millions of dollars worth of products from different countries such as China or Italy. "Artrageous" represents a new twist on generating excitement through the chain and inspiring shopping.

"We have always had huge recognition of the fact that contemporary art is a vital social force that extends beyond the art world into broader culture, perhaps none more notably than in fashion," said Jack Hruska, Bloomingdale's executive vice president of creative services. "'Artrageous' will portray a widely accessible idea of art and acknowledge its very relevant place in the lives of our customers."

For the last several seasons, Hruska has been purchasing art and building a Bloomingdale's collection hung on the walls of its stores nationwide in an ongoing initiative. However, "Artrageous" as an official campaign extends through the fall-holiday season, while certain elements might be sustained longer.

For "Artrageous," which kicks off Wednesday evening with a party at the flagship, windows will display works by Sydney Albertini, Brandon d'Leo, Cara Earl and other artists alongside fashion from Marc Jacobs, Chris Benz, Lyn Devon and others. Zac Posen designs will be displayed with artwork by his father, Stephen Posen.

Inside, the flagship will be adorned with Mondrian-inspired banners and abstract neon light sculptures inspired by minimalist Dan Flavin. Bios on artists will be shown on plasma screens. "Artrageous" will also encompass:

-A fall catalogue featuring work by Hermann Nitsch and nods to modern artists and locations spawning contemporary talent, from Berlin to Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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