I haven’t been writing because in New York and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. YAY!
Last night, I had the good fortune to be invited to a private dinner and viewing of Christian Marclay’s The Clock before it opened to the public at Lincoln Center today. Although a casual stand-up affair, it was like zeroing into the epicenter of Manhattan’s YOUNG art scene. Good to be surrounded by some thinking people who really believe in cultivating an art scene with integrity. I forgot what that’s like because I’ve been in the Chinese contemporary art world too long! Weirdly, spending more time in NYC could very well have the salubrious effect of re-keening my interest in the art world. It’s been a long time since I’ve considered art — without money being an integral part of the equation. In Hong Kong, art is money and money is art. Basta. Here, there’s more of a delicate dance between appreciation and exploitation - a dance metered by the compunction of a puritannical intellectualism which repudiates the overtly facile and commercial. For that matter, it was great to be in company which easily understood the meaning of the last sentence I penned.
Here’s a picture of me with Casey Kelbaugh, my date, the founder of Slideluck Potshow, one of THE most authentic, grassroots artist community events in the US. Capturing the mechanics and format of their events, the name, “Slideluck Potshow” is a spoonerism combining “potluck” and “slideshow” OBVIOUSLY. If you don’t know what a spoonerism is, then you probably don’t know that “Plukka” is the combination of two ESTABLISHED English words either! Casey is the ultimate anti-sales guy, explaining why I brought him to dinner to hang out with some of the world’s top art patrons plus Zaha Hadid and, believe it or not, Tyra Banks (who, by the way, is just unbelievably warm and lovely). (I have been yelled at at least 10 times by friends and publicists for mentioning too many things and causes and organizations and designers unrelated to Plukka at business meetings but, seriously, I cannot help but wave other flags when they deserve attention and exposure. Call it a fatal disease but I’ll always be an activist at heart — and in real life.)
Take a look at their website and, IF YOU’RE IN NYC THIS THURSDAY, attend their next event at Brooklyn Brewery!
The artwork of this insane Muscovite, WHOM I LOVE, says it all - and explains why I’m no longer an art dealer. http://www.behance.net/gallery/Artworks-posters-2010-2012/4113053
If for some reason you can’t view any of his work, here are some great examples, which demonstrate his disdain and contempt for sacred cows and pat cultural icons:
Before dinner, I reconnected with a really good, old friend, who’s a legend in the fashion industry (ex-CEO of Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan) and is now revamping Ralph Rucci, whose image as a couturier of choice for the blue-haired set needs serious rehab, if this front row photo from one of his fashion shows is to be trusted as genuine, instead of staged. (I mean, it IS that funny - in a horribly painful way) —
Luckily, the new Chado by Ralph Rucci (still priced stratospherically between $5-12k per garment) is styled to entice a younger customer. Here’s one of the pieces they showed me at the showroom, which blew my mind. Yes, I’m coveting that jacket. Believe it or not, when I’m not feeling like a curmudgeonly hermit, I do go out and I actually do need clothes like that [koff]. For the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I actually said the unthinkable, I WILL WORK FOR CLOTHES. Honestly, everyone knows that I generally do NOT give a rat’s ass about STUFF, but this is a gigantic exception — even a LIFETIME exception —
I can feel the kudos in the pipeline for this one.
On the tech side, I had two HUGE meetings (yesterday). One was with the senior management of a multi-billion dollar media company which, if they decide to go ahead with us to do a co-branded fine jewelry collection for the first time in their 20 year history, will be a gigantic coup for Plukka. I was introduced to them by the associate of one our investors, granting us direct access to their C/SVP-suite immediately. I’m now working non-stop to propose a capsule collection to them pronto. These guys do NOT mess around. We pretty much covered the width and girth of any potential project within the span of 45 minutes with the COO, head of publishing, ecommerce and biz dev, all seated around the conference table with me, as I explained how we could develop a gorgeous exclusive collection for them at rock-bottom prices and light speed … Hard to believe, but their head of ecommerce was a veteran of the fine jewelry industry for fifteen years, making it a cakewalk to convince her of our value proposition. Seriously, I was pinching myself after the meeting for at least an hour. If anything happens, this will unfold over MONTHS, so it’s not time to stop the presses - yet.
I met with the newest, HOTTEST curated social commerce platform yesterday, too. Without giving it away, this platform is now in full-blown competition with Pinterest because it’s a much better curated discovery machine. In contrast to home-made brownies which look like dog poo, this site presents artistic chocolates molded in the shape of skulls with “brains” of walnut halves, shot with the artistry of Raimond Meier. So, you get the idea … there’s no comparison. I’ve pretty much abandoned Pinterest wholesale at this point. On top of that, this site is adding functions and features at incredible speed. It HAS won already. The speed of consumer retail internet IS insane these days! (There are moments when I think, shit, why am I creating a REAL brand with REAL products?) During the course of the meeting, I told them that I’m ready to commit to creating awesome editorial content in their style if they’re ready to support and promote our brand. By the end of the meeting, we’d gotten “married” so to speak, with the in-person meeting cementing the relationship. Hats off too, to my PR agency, without which this would have been unthinkable. For this one, we WILL see the results, I believe, within a few months. This dovetails with what I mentioned before: Plukka has to commit to being a serious early adopter on certain nascent platforms. My decision was validated when these guys told me that big brands have too many SOPs to roll with it and adapt and innovate from moment to moment. Stay tuned for more on this front. I’m incredibly psyched about our partnership and totally nuts for the platform personally. I’m no time-waster and I leave this site open on my browser the entire day and think about what next great post I can make, accounting, possibly, too, for my neglect of this all-important soul-searching platform :)
TODAY AT 6 AM, EST, WE LAUNCHED THE “COLLECTIONS” SECTION OF OUR WEBSITE. Despite waking up after only 4 hours of sleep this morning to check on the status of the release, TODAY HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST DAY OF MY START-UP LIFE NEXT TO OUR LAUNCH DAY. I hope you’ll take a look at the site soon. It’s a quantum leap from where we began the catalogue on May 1st! I’m fried today but ecstatic!
By now, you may have noticed that my blog posts are like a ricocheting pinball … I forgot to mention that Vogue pulled a whole armload of jewels from us two days ago. As opposed to a lot of the stuff I mentioned today, I HAVE been holding my breath on that one.
The fact of my recounting this single day has made me realize that I need to ally my identity with Plukka’s more strongly because, believe it or not, my typical day IS like this one, if I’m in NY, Hong Kong or London — i.e., crammed with fascinating moments spent with opinion leaders, artists and aesthetes in all walks of life. The writing is on the wall: it may finally be the moment to man plukka.tumblr.com properly!
Not sure how I could have forgotten but last weekend, I rewrote the Kickstarter description for this multi-country initiative within JR’s global street art project, Inside Out. PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/iopbethechange/inside-out-project-be-the-change-a-global-action
One of the leaders of Be The Change is a friend and fellow art activist, Yvonne Senouf. She inspired me so much that I had to lend a helping hand!