In June, Maharam and the Serpentine Galleries will introduce new wallpapers by Beatriz González, Alex Katz, Jean Nouvel, and Raqs Media Collective. Part of the Maharam Serpentine Galleries Wallpaper collection—an uneditioned series created by esteemed artists and architects under the curatorial direction of the Serpentine’s Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist—the four new designs follow upon the success of the inaugural offering by Ai Weiwei, John Baldessari, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Toyo Ito, SANAA, Rosemarie Trockel, and Lawrence Weiner that debuted during Milan Design Week and launched at Frieze New York 2015.
Reprising the concept of activating key public spaces throughout the fair, three of the Maharam Serpentine Galleries Wallpapers will be installed at Frieze New York: Marc Camille Chaimowicz’s Pavilion and Beatriz González’s Wiwa Stories will greet visitors at the north and south entrances respectively, while John Baldessari’s (Clock/Pizza - Turquoise) will bridge El Rey and Roberta’s, two centrally located cafés.
Frieze and Maharam’s close relationship has resulted in multiple collaborations in recent years, including a 180’-long installation of Shoes by Thomas Bayrle in the entrance corridor of Frieze London 2012 and the recreation of Al’s Grand Hotel, a 1971 project by Allen Ruppersberg, that saw a functioning hotel embedded within Frieze New York 2014. At last year’s New York edition, John Baldessari’s (Nose/Popcorn – Yellow/Green), SANAA’s Watercolor Flowers, Lawrence Weiner’s SAIL ON, and Marc Camille Chaimowicz’s Pavilion were situated at the north entrance, auditorium vestibule, Marlow & Sons café, and south VIP desk accordingly.
Like Maharam Digital Projects, the wallpapers reflect a range of subject matter and styles while utilizing advanced digital printing techniques for complex, high-resolution imagery in a full-color spectrum. Scale is the distinguishing feature: Maharam Serpentine Galleries Wallpapers reflect a traditional framework of modestly sized repeats and a conventional 27” width. Available by the roll at the Serpentine Galleries shop in London or by the linear yard through Maharam, the wallpapers are intended for both commercial and residential use. Durable and easy to maintain, the collection is printed with UV-resistant inks on a washable, latex-reinforced substrate.
The launch is well timed not only with Frieze, but also with an upcoming exhibition by Alex Katz to be held this summer at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. Featuring recent works along with those from throughout his career, the exhibition opens June 2 and runs through September 11. It will be followed by a solo exhibition by Marc Camille Chaimowicz in the fall.
About the Artists
Ai Weiwei (b. 1957, China) is a Beijing-based artist, activist, architect, and curator whose iconoclastic works provoke commentary on the current political climate. Ai has become a cultural arbiter by openly criticizing the Chinese government and promoting free expression both in China and internationally.
* John Baldessari (b. 1931, United States) is a conceptual artist based in Santa Monica who uses text and appropriated imagery across painting, print, installation, and video. With deadpan humor, Baldessari’s work comments on the banalities and absurdities of popular culture. (Clock/Pizza – Turquoise) is one in a series of four wallpapers that isolates seemingly dissimilar elements to create formal visual relationships.
* Marc Camille Chaimowicz (b. 1947, France) was among the first to merge performance and installation art. London- and Burgundy-based, he’s known for theatrical installations that incorporate photographs, fabrics, carpets, wallpaper, and ceramics. Pavilion illustrates the verdant scene of London’s Hyde Park. Depicted with soft lines and a muted palette, the classical architecture of the Serpentine Gallery—once a royal tea pavilion—is offset by stacked boulders drawn from a temporary installation by artist duo, Fischli/Weiss.
* Beatriz González (b. 1938, Colombia) is a Bogotá-based leading figure of Latin American Pop art. Exploring socio-political subject matter specific to Colombia’s history and vernacular culture, González often uses images of current events culled from the media and then inserts a dialogue between popular narratives and formal painting. Wiwa Stories depicts the plight of eleven members of the Wiwa ethnic group, an indigenous community living in Colombia’s remote Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, who were struck and killed by lightning while performing a traditional universe-balancing ceremony in 2014.
Toyo Ito (b. 1941, South Korea) is a Tokyo-based architect known for flexible spaces that appeal to human senses. Attempting to bring his buildings into a closer relationship with their surroundings and the natural environment, Ito uses fluidity, lightness, and transparency. He was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2013.
Alex Katz (b. 1927, United States) is a New York-based artist whose extensive body of work includes figurative paintings, drawings, sculpture, and prints. Featuring an economy of line, flattened perspective, and monochrome backgrounds, Katz’s distinctive portraits and landscapes reinvent both genres within the context of abstract painting and contemporary image-making.
Jean Nouvel (b. 1945, France) is a Paris-based architect and founder of Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Jean Nouvel Design, one of the largest architectural practices in France, which specializes in architecture, urban design, landscape design, product and industrial design, and interior design. Known for his emphasis on contextual integration and for his wide-ranging style, Nouvel was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2008.
Raqs Media Collective (founded 1992, India) consists of Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. Based in Delhi, the collective has been variously described as artists, media practitioners, curators, researchers, editors, and catalysts of cultural processes. Located at the intersection of contemporary art, historical enquiry, philosophical speculation, research and theory, their work often takes the form of installations, online and offline media objects, and performances.
SANAA (founded 1995, Japan) is a Tokyo-based architecture firm founded by Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima. Their work is characterized by an immaterial quality that is achieved through openness and a sensitivity towards natural elements. The firm was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2010.
Rosemarie Trockel (b. 1952, Germany) is a conceptual artist based in Cologne whose work in textiles, sculpture, collage, and video examine feminine modes of production. By subverting cultural trademarks and symbols, Trockel’s work challenges the hierarchy of systems, concepts of sexuality, and aesthetic production.
Lawrence Weiner (b. 1942, United States) is a sculptor based in New York and Amsterdam and a founder of the conceptual art movement. In an effort to make art that is accessible, open-ended, mutable, and transferable, Weiner's primary medium is language. Since the 1970s, he has treated words as sculptural material through his installations, consisting solely of text painted in nondescript lettering on walls.
*featured at Frieze New York 2016
About Frieze New York 2016
Convening more than 200 galleries from 31 countries for its fifth edition, Frieze New York showcases an extraordinary cross-section of work by contemporary artists from around the world, from the newly discovered to contemporary masters. On view in Randall’s Island Park from May 5–8, the fair is mounted in a light-filled structure designed for the presentation of contemporary art, providing collectors, scholars, and art enthusiasts alike with an immersive cultural experience overlooking the East River.
About the Serpentine Galleries
The Serpentine comprises two contemporary art galleries situated on either side of the Serpentine Lake in the heart of the Royal Park of Kensington Gardens in central London. The Serpentine Gallery and the recently opened Serpentine Sackler Gallery, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, present world-renowned exhibitions of art, architecture and design throughout the year with free admission.