Earlier today I walked up Fifth Avenue and noticed that the Louis Vuitton at 57th Street, designed by Jun Aoki, looked a bit different.
Crossing the street to take a closer look, I realized that the storefront is decked out for Yayoi Kusama's exhibition at the Whitney Museum, which is sponsored by Louis Vuitton. Corporate ties to the world of art are hardly new, and brands like Louis Vuitton are particularly well connected to artists. I remember Takashi Murakami putting his cartoon characters on their handbags some years ago, so this one doesn't come as a shock.
But putting the artist in the storefront would be a shock. I must admit that I was fooled in my quick glance at this shop window. Was she taking the corporate tie-in to the next level? But photos of the 83-year-old artist around the Whitney opening and the unveiling of the polka-dot exterior show her in a wheelchair, so she is probably not up for standing in a window acting out the Abramovic Method. Nevertheless the facade and displays are quite fun and playful, bringing plenty of attention to Louis Vuitton and Kusama's art.