AGNÈS B. SIGNS WITH MCGINNESS: Fashion designer agnès b. has enlisted New York-based artist Ryan McGinness to create an installation to coincide with the May 1 launch of his T-shirt design for her Artist’s T-shirt collection.
The pair, who have been friends for several years, are both expected at the April 30 opening night party in SoHo. Guests at the agnès b. Galerie Boutique on Howard Street will be the first to see “Signals: Units of Meaning: Drawings of Elements & Compounds.”
It has been five years since McGinness whipped up a customized item for agnès b. who has helped to catapult his career, as well as those of other young artists. His work has been featured at the Galerie du Jour agnès b. in Paris, in such group shows as “What About New York” in 2003, which also showcased work from José Parlá, Ryan McGinley, Dash Snow, Dan Colen, Rostarr, Brian DeGraw and Pia Dehne. McGinness’ work was also part of “Ugly Winners” in 2006 and “On Verra Bien” in 2016, as well as in a solo show “Multiverse” in 2004. (His “#metadata” exhibition closes April 22 at the Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles.)
His upcoming installation will include a T-shirt, mugs, a vinyl tote bag, patches, a skateboard, site-specific wallpaper and a large-format painting. For an added artistic infusion, agnès b. will publish a limited-edition 480-page “Signals: Units of Meaning: Drawings of Elements & Compounds” book.
This time around McGinness, who first teamed with the designer for customized products in 2011, created a double-layered shirt — a short-sleeve shirt sewn over a long-sleeve one. Inspired by Nineties skate culture, the doubled-up T-shirts are what McGinness wore as a teenager growing up in Virginia Beach. To switch things up, he turned the shirt inside out to reveal the garment’s stitching, uneven elements and imperfections, and then printed graphic red, black and white icons. Retailing for $145, it will be the priciest item in the collection, which has an opening price point of $35.
Widely recognized for his use of graphics and iconography, McGinness dreamt up the T-shirt design as an offshoot of his 2014 installation “Signs,” which consisted of 50 fabricated street signs that were installed in the streets of downtown New York in the summer of 2014. Produced by the New York City Department of Transportation, the street signs were installed along the route of the Summer Streets program, where seven miles of streets are occasionally designated car-free and open to the public to play, run, walk and bike.
This is the second French label that McGinness has collaborated with this spring. Longchamp recruited the artist to liven up the exterior of its rue Saint-Honoré store, while it is being renovated. His Signs installation will be up at agnès b. until June 1.
Celebrating her 40-year anniversary as a brand, agnès b. will reissue some of the more sought-after designs in the designer’s Artist’s T-shirt collection. Designs by Gilbert & George, Futura, Harmony Korine and Douglas Gordon will be reintroduced. The concept was first unveiled in 1994, when the artist Felix Gonzales Torres stamped a simple sentence on the back of an agnès b. T-shirt.