Felix will bring fashion to its art fair for the first time in 2024.
Dover Street Market is producing a shoppable installation in collaboration with artist Oscar Tuazon. The structure will be unveiled Feb. 28 when the fair opens at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, its home venue since it was founded in 2018.
“Oscar is going to create four separate sculptures that are in the space, plus some additional bits scattered throughout it,” explained Al Morán of Morán Morán gallery. He — along with his brother, Mills, and Dean Valentine — launched and curate the fair.
“So, it’s going to be through the lens of an art installation,” he went on. “Oscar is going to build this thing. And then Dover Street is going to merchandise within it.”
It was over the summer in Paris that Morán spent time with James Gilchrist, vice president of Dover Street Market USA (and Comme des Garçons USA), after meeting through designer Kiko Kostadinov. The two found themselves conversing about unconventional retail.
“We were talking about their initiatives,” said Morán, who’s no stranger to an unorthodox approach — showcasing art at Felix outside the mainstream “white box” structure. “I think that conversation is what planted the bug in my ear about different opportunities Dover Street was looking at in terms of how to present retail and what I could bring to the table in terms of an audience. There is overlap in the audience, but it is a little bit of a different audience, per se.”
Tuazon — based in L.A. and represented by Morán Morán — works in sculpture, architecture and mixed media. His pieces at Felix will be the first thing visitors see when they enter the ballroom space, where they check in before wandering the exhibits in the halls of the hotel and cabanas around the pool.
“They are going to have to engage with it in order to get their wristband,” Morán added of the piece. “Given that this was the first year that we were doing it, I needed to work with somebody that I have an intimate working relationship with already, because I knew that there was going to be so many moving parts and variables. A lot of flexibility is needed on this first one, because there’s no template set for it…I know how he works and I know that he can actually do this. And then secondly, his work really lends itself to this type of project as well. A lot of his work deals with architecture and communal spaces and engaging the public in sculpture.”
Of his artistry, in a statement, Tuazon said: “To truly give a work of art the status of living thing, it’s necessary to do away with the idea that the object has a static form. There is something radical about this proposition when it comes to sculpture; if you accept the idea that each time the work is remade it will change, it will appear differently. I try to let go of thinking of the artwork as a thing — it’s a process, a sequence of events that can never be repeated. This is what is so exciting about creating a space for Dover Street Market at Felix, to make sculpture a place where other things can happen.”
For his part, Gilchrist offered WWD: “I have been thinking for some time about doing an off-site event in L.A. but could never quite figure out how to do it without it looking contrived. Then serendipitously — like many of the best things in life — an email from Al Morán arrived in my inbox, and I knew immediately this was it. Felix L.A. embraces discovery and spontaneity — both of which are key to the ‘beautiful chaos’ ethos of Dover Street Market. Felix cofounders Al, Mills, and Dean have taken a completely new and innovative approach to the traditional art fair experience which is incredibly exciting and felt natural for DSM to be involved. We’re also honored to work with Oscar Tuazon, an artist we have admired for a long time, to transform DSM and incorporate the shop into his own work.”
Bringing together about 60 exhibitors, participation in Felix is by invitation only. The next edition will take place for five days, closing on March 3.
“Every year attendance is up double-digit percentage points,” Morán said. “The space itself is kind of a gift and a curse…We’re basically capped at the amount that we’ve had it for the last couple of years. And I think, on one hand, it is a little bit limiting because we can’t grow the fair by any amount, technically. But it’s actually worked in our favor I think because it’s allowed us to keep the quality of the artworks that are presented at a very high level.”