The future of Reed Krakoff, the brand, may still be in flux, but in the interim, Reed Krakoff, the person, is keeping busy. He’s designed a line for Kohl’s, and become chair of the admissions committee of the CFDA. Now, he and wife Delphine have teamed with Sotheby’s to curate “Alchemy: Art x Design,” an exhibition of art, design and decorative objects as part of the auction house’s Important Design sale.
The show comes on the heels of Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne’s curation for the auction house called “Prints & Multiples,” showcasing the likes of Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly and Frank Stella. The Krakoff’s exhibition doesn’t include as many blockbuster names, but it makes up for it in scope: there are 100 pieces from departments including pre- and postwar design, contemporary and modern art, photography, classic American and European furniture, antiquities and Renaissance art.
“We’re creating something that’s going to be a bit of a surprise to all of us because we selected things across many different departments — from antiquities to Shaker furniture to Queen Anne — and art across many different countries,” says Reed. “It’s just like building a collection, you’re not exactly sure how it’s going to end.”
While Reed brings his fashion sensibility to the project, Delphine runs her own interior design firm. “We have different skills, that’s for sure. I think he’s definitely more of a visionary when it comes to what is going to be interesting next,” she says. “And I make things happen, let’s say.”
A ceramic sculpture by Georges Jouve, a cobalt mirrored glass cabinet by Fontana Arte and a glass Moorish chandelier by Tiffany Studios are some of the pieces that will be on display from Sunday to Dec. 18 at Sotheby’s York Avenue headquarters. “It’s interesting to show that art is design and design is art and they both need to be looked at with the same attention,” says Delphine.
For Jodi Pollack, head of Sotheby’s 20th Century Design, handing over the process to the Krakoffs was a way to connect with today’s collectors. “What we’re doing really crosses the realm of art, design, contemporary culture and fashion,” she says. “I think that’s essentially how people are approaching art today. People are collecting very differently then they did even five or ten years ago. The days of people collecting in very focused silos is for the most part over. There are still really dedicated focused collectors, but I think a lot of the new collectors of art and design are much broader in their scope, and much bolder in terms of mixing things and not being so one-dimensional about their collecting.”
Adds Reed: “Like in all businesses [today], fashion business, design business and auction business, we’re all seeking new ways to bring the client in.”
The project was also an opportunity for the Krakoffs to collaborate with each other, for once. “Aside from our homes and our family we don’t necessarily have a lot of occasions to work together,” says Delphine. “When I first met Reed, something that we very much had in common was spending time looking at vintage book stores, traveling and going to galleries and museums. So [design] has become over the years an activity that we love to share.”