Alongside the Whitney Biennial, one of New York City’s most anticipated contemporary art events, Tiffany & Co. has put $5 million towards a limited number of pieces specially created by five participating artists for the Whitney’s shop and Tiffany’s flagship location in Midtown Manhattan.
Carrie Moyer, a Brooklyn-based painter with a vibrant oeuvre, designed a silver pendant inspired by her collages.
Raúl de Nieves, who boasts an arresting mixed media installation at the Biennial, forged a silver box.
Brooklyn-based artist Shara Hughes sculpted and hand-painted china pitchers.
Ajay Kurian, whose mixed media installation Childermass hangs in the Whintey’s staircase, crafted a sterling silver card holder titled Modern Secrets.
Mixed media artist Harold Mendez created five almost traditional Tiffany vessels—except for the Colombain death mask inspired by an artifact in a Medellín museum at each center. The artist reported to The New York Times that he visited a Tiffany workshop in Rhode Island where silver-polishing wheels and an old iridescent tea caddy advertised in a back-issue catalog got him thinking.
In all, product prices range from $2,500 up to $10,000.
The New York Times points out that the founder of Tiffany & Co., Charles Lewis Tiffany, “was a[n original] trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the company later enlisted such artists as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg in collaborations.” Thus art is integral to Tiffany’s origins.
Partnering with the Whitney, a powerful institution with its finger long on the pulse of contemporary art in America, affords Tiffany & Co., an icon of extreme luxury which could, in turn, be interpreted as old-world conservative, the opportunity to reassert itself as a pioneering brand.