Agnès Trouble, the fashion designer known as “Agnès b.” is putting her fondness for the work of Frédéric Bruly Bouabré to good use.
Visiting New York for the first time in two years, the designer said Wednesday that she had started to become familiar with his work after seeing some of it at The Center Pompidou in 1992. The designer attended a preview Tuesday at the Museum of Modern Art for “Frédéric Bruly Bouabré: World Unbound.” An art collector for decades, she has staged an exhibition of his work in her SoHo boutique in Manhattan that doubles as a gallery.
The MoMA exhibition is open to the public from Sunday through Aug. 13. It is the first exhibition in the museum’s history to be dedicated to an Ivorian artist. “I think it was time for that, really because it’s astonishing to see all of that [work],” the designer said. “The show at the MoMA is absolutely beautiful. It’s philosophical. It’s political. He’s a genius.”
The designer has collected the artist’s work for many years and has shown his pieces at the Galerie du Jour in Paris. His work has featured in her artist T-shirts collection. The piece that she has lent to the MoMA show is titled “Hommage aux femmes du monde.” Made in 2007, it consists of 200 ballpoint and color pencil drawings on cardboard in Bouabre’s signature 6 x 4 inch postcard size.
The opening for the Howard Street store exhibition was slated for Thursday night. The exhibition will showcase 65 ballpoint pen and color crayon drawings that are on loan from the Galerie du Jour. That downtown show will remain on view through May 15.
This is also the first survey of Bouabré’s work, spanning from the 1970s until his death in 2014.
While in New York, the designer is reconnecting with her team in the city. In addition to the Howard Street store, there are signature boutiques in Union Square and uptown on Madison Avenue.
”Very happy” to be back in New York, she thinks that the city will come alive again after so many people having been impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19. “Spring is coming even if it is snowing today. People will be out again and they will want to go out. It’s quite the same in Paris.”
However, she acknowledged that “people are worried” about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reactions. “Nobody can tell what he is going to do, which is a problem,” she said. “And I like Russia very much. I have been a few times to St. Petersburg and Moscow. I love the people there. There are very nice people in the streets and everywhere. I did a show here with my photographs of Moscow.” For the time being, though, the designer is all about New York, and she is hopeful that everything will get better for everyone over the next few weeks.