ARTILLERY MAGAZINE, 2008, VOLUME 2, NUMbER 5,
WARHOL FACTORY X LEVI'S® X DAMIEN HIRST
In the 300 dollar exhibition catalogue for this retail outlet debut of the Warhol Factory X Levi's® X Damien Hirst clothing collection, Christopher Makos writes, "There's no time to miss Andy! He's more alive than ever." Actually, Andy Warhol is dead, but a whole new corporation called Warhol Factory has been created to correct that. This mercenary enterprise has joined up with Levi's® and artist Damien Hirst to produce a clothing collection that "draws on the similarities of theme in both Warhol and Hirst's work." The resulting corporate construct, Warhol Factory X Levi's® X Damien Hirst, launched its new pop-up retail space at Fred Segal Man Santa Monica with the teaser that, along with the hybrid clothing line, two "unseen" Damien Hirst original works of art would premier. At the launch party, the two "unseen" pairs of spin painted Levi's® jeans in plastic box frames were largely ignored in favor of Warhol Factory bondage pants flaunting Hirst's "famed dot paintings" as liners. Zippered T-shirts sported both Warhol's silkscreen print of a human skull and an image of Hirst's diamond encrusted skull piece "For The Love Of God". Money is definitely someone's God as the flimsy shirts carry a hefty 120 dollar price tag that's modeled to look like a Polaroid photograph of Drella. Also for sale was a limited edition book that had been started in anticipation of the moment that "Andy Warhol's heir would meet his forefather through the medium of clothing." The Warhol Factory X Levi's® X Damien Hirst book is a high end event program that comes across like a hardcover Harper's Bazaar, complete with fashion photographs featuring Vincent Gallo. Still, it serves as a primer on Warhol for people too young to have shared a room with him, and as a handbook to Hirst for those interested in why he would make a pact with some pre-millennial dead artist. The Warhol Factory X Levi's® X Damien Hirst book documents "the significance of Damien Hirst's involvement" in this dead/undead partnership; it's Hirst's ego driven joyride with Andy's corpse thrown in the back seat.
Levi's® "agreed that the most potent synergy between Warhol and Hirst was the theme of Death" and as a result, a moribund energy ruins this unwilling collaboration. The pop up shop's wallpaper has Hirst's "famed dots" superimposed over Warhol's electric chair silkscreen print; another faux brick wall is wrapped in dull aluminum foil. Some of the of the Polaroid price tags on the clothes feature Andy looking absolutely bored with a human skull on top of his white hair. When he was alive, Warhol deadpanned that "when you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums." At Fred Segal, Warhol Factory X Levi's® X Damien Hirst has created a retail museum exhibition on how to not impress your kids by namedropping dead celebrities. Andy who? Wasn't he in The Dandy Warhols?