“I’ve seen enough art fairs,” Alex Katz declared near the end of the night on Wednesday. “They’re not particularly interesting. The art is reduced to commodity, so it’s really depressing and really boring,” he continued. “It’s a dumb idea of selling paintings. Dumb idea, dumb dealers and dumb clients, combined.”
Tell us what you really think. “It works very well, but I think it’s on the low level. They’re trying to sell commodities, not art,” Katz added.
Needless to say, Katz may have been in Miami but he wasn’t in town for Art Basel Miami Beach, Design Miami, or any of the countless tents and fairs propped up around town. No, he was in town for the reason thousands of others were: to party. Specifically, to celebrate at H&M’s bash marking the collaboration incorporating his artwork, which has been printed on a line of tote bags, clothing and pillows. Nelly Furtado, who performed after dinner at the Edition Hotel, had fashioned her H&M x Alex Katz scarf into a halter top, and Karolina Kurkova, a cohost for the night, had Katz sign her top — while she was wearing it.
The event certainly seemed like it was treating art like a commodity aimed at doing nothing but sell product. The 89-year-old artist might not be concerned about that, but H&M certainly is.
“It’s for everybody, and it’s stylish. This is on a proletarian level, anybody can buy them,” Katz said of the collection, which he felt very positive about. “It’s the idea of art reaching a lot of people. We as people are united by popular culture. It unites us all — we all hold hands on Billie Holiday, we all hold hands on Frank Sinatra. They connect to everybody. I think with this project, we do that. We connect to everybody.”