Now playing (soon!) at the DX

Toronto’s Design Exchange is presenting the world’s first-ever large-scale exhibition of designer toys. “This Is Not A Toy: An Exhibition of Contemporary Art + Collectible Design” exists at the intersection of art, design, fashion, music, luxury goods and street culture. The visitor will experience larger-than-life painting, sculpture, and video. Guest curated by Grammy and Oscar-nominated creative wunderkind Pharrell Williams, “This Is Not A Toy” showcases many artists for the first time in Canada, in a design museum, under the same roof. It’s promises to be THE contemporary art and design show of 2014.

Often considered the Warhol of Japan, Takashi Murakami is a prolific contemporary artist internationally recognized for his collaborations with Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Kanye West. In addition to his rarely seen jewel and diamond covered The Simple Things sculpture collaboration with Pharrell Williams and Jacob the Jeweler, the DX showcases his Flower Cushion and a plush skull with similarly flowered eyes, alongside Superflat Museum, a pocket-sized 10-piece cartoon-esque vinyl set.

Brian Donnelly – better known as KAWS – started as a graffiti artist; so naturally, his work is rooted in street culture. It blends elements of illustration and pop iconography (think Michelin Man and Smurfs) to create universally understood images that have become instantly recognizable in their own right. His undeniably cool and colourful paintings and sculptures have caught the attention of numerous brands and celebrity collectors (Williams one of them). In addition to his enormous 18-foot figures, he’s wow’d audiences with zip wallets for Comme des Garçons (sold at Colette, naturally); shoe collaborations for both Nike and Vans; and a redesigned moonman statue for the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.

FriendsWithYou began by creating soft sculptures, like plush and wooden toys, with a purpose to redesign spirituality, rituals, and religious acts for modern day healing usage. The Miami art duo will bring inflatables to the DX including their rotating happy face – located in a custom-built rainbow vortex, nonetheless. A 30-ft. inflatable bouncy castle will make a surprise appearance during the show, to further promote the collective’s motto, “Magic, Luck, and Friendship,” across Toronto!

“This Is Not A Toy: An Exhibition of Contemporary Art + Collectible Design” runs at the Design Exchange (DX), Canada’s Design Museum, 234 Bay St., Toronto, until  May 19.

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