This Is Not A Toy: The Urban Vinyl Phenomenon
February 6 – May 18, 2014.
Location: DX Exhibit Hall, Design Exchange — 234 Bay Street
Curators: DX Associate Curator, Sara Nickleson; Guest Curators John Wee Tom and music icon Pharrell Williams.
This Is Not A Toy takes its name from the disclaimer found on packaging for objects geared to adults or which might be harmful to young children – they may be called toys, but they are not intended for play. The title also references Rene Magritte’s Ceci N’est Pas Un Pipe, one of the seminal works of art of the 20th century, which plays with the Duchampian notion of object, semantics and context in determining a work’s meaning and significance. Each of these theoretical groundings establish the exhibition’s framework: presenting the works as art and design objects and providing a platform for conceptual discourse.
Lying at the intersection of fine art, marketing, pop culture, product and graphic design, designer toys are highly collectible objects for a post-Pop world. Artists use the infrastructure of mass production to create variation, personal expression and limited edition objects that range in price from just a few dollars to many thousands more. With roots in late 1980s graffiti culture, urban vinyl is a subversive art form that is as much rebellious as it is playful. These art toys reject and appropriate familiar consumer imagery, manipulating household names and visual icons from Disney to Chanel thereby shifting control from brand to artist, and ultimately, consumer. Some manipulate familiar visual tropes while others create their own original forms, characters and worlds.
For more details: www.dx.org