What do Helmut Lang, Richard Prince and Juergen Teller have in common? Well, apart from being iconoclasts in their respective fields of fashion, art and photography, it’s the fact that their work has now been translated into carpets, which are featured in a newly opened exhibition at the Tanja Grunert Gallery in New York. Blurring the line between fine and decorative art, the show features over 23 of these creations, which have been masterfully crafted by The Carpet Kartell – an association for manufacturers who create “artist-designed carpets” established by Equator Production and Henzel Studio last December. In addition to Lang, Prince and Teller, this exhibition features rugs created in collaboration with a string of creative genii – from Linder Sterling and Marilyn Minter to Nan Goldin and Tom of Finland.
With one half of the exhibits created by Equator Production and the other half by Henzel Studio, each carpet has its own unique story. “Henzel Studio’s collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is based on an unrealised artist’s book by Warhol I found, that had only been exhibited once prior in Pittsburg,” explains Joakim Andreasson, who curated the Swedish rug brand’s carpets, giving one example. “Consisting of 38 octagonal pages, each page is a die-cut detail from Warhol’s print edition set of Marilyn Monroe dated 1967 that includes ten variations of the iconic star. We seamlessly translated its 38 pages into remarkable hand-knotted silk rugs and pillows.” Here, we break down five highlights from the show.
1. Marilyn by Andy Warhol
Originally featured in a series of screenprints, this image of Marilyn Monroe is one of dozens created by the artist, who based the motif on a publicity photograph from the 1953 film Niagara. Here, “Calle Henzel [the founder of Henzel Studio] applied his signature designs traits to the original portrait of Monroe; free-from organic shapes, punk-like fringes and cut-outs”.
2. 1-234-567-8910, by Richard Prince
Known for his appropriating or “creative borrowing”, American painter and photographer Richard Prince’s rug represents a collage of numbers taken from football jerseys.
3. Untitled, by Helmut Lang
With this rug, Lang re-appropriated the shape of his 2012 sculpture Behind. Hand-knotted and rendered from New Zealand wool and silk, its finish has been achieved through different pile heights.
4. Untitled, by Tom of Finland
The godfather of homoerotic fetish art Touko Valio Laaksonen or Tom of Finland’s carpet reflect the Finnish artist’s sexually charged and sometimes sadomasochistic signature – a naked man lies on his front with several booted males standing over him.
5. Cracked Glass, by Marilyn Minter
While painter Marilyn Minter is known for porn paintings of the 90s and hyperrealist close-ups of women’s body parts of the 00s, her rug is non-figurative and one of the most abstract exhibits on display. The design was based on one of her photographs, Cracked Glass, 2013.
The Carpet Kartell runs until May 31, 2017, at Tanja Grunert Gallery, New York.