Viewing modern toy art in a museum/fine art gallery is an amazing experience. As LA’s Toy Art Gallery celebrates the 1st anniversary of its Melrose Ave showroom, and major cities around the world continue to recognize this developing genre (for instance, Milan), I’m noticing an uptick in dedicated toy art gallery spaces and museum exhibitions. One person, however, has set a new standard for all future toy art shows.
His name is Selim Varol, and those coarsetoys cupcakes were just a tiny taste of his plastic proclivities. Since May, Varol’s incredible toy art and street/contemporary art collection has been on view at the at the Me Collectors Room in Berlin, Germany. The exhibition includes over 3,000 pieces by more than 200 artists and designers from over 20 countries. “My collection, that’s me: my childhood, my friends, my heroes, my role models, what I enjoy, what moves me,” writes Varol.
For those who can’t visit the show in person, I’m excited to present these exclusive photos by my awesome Israeli correspondent (on assignment in Germany), Irit Caspi. She writes:
Stepping into the exhibition hall, I was in complete and utter awe. I stood there, camera in hand, not sure where I should start. The entire hall was decked in exquisite pieces of art – floor to ceiling. Overwhelmed as I was, for a minute I wondered if I was in the right place. After all, this was supposed to be a toy exhibition. Where were all the toys? The next room provided the necessary proof that I had indeed arrived at my destination, in the magnificent shape of a full-sized rowing boat, manned by oversized Be@rbricks and other helpful friends. From that moment on, I couldn’t put down my camera.
[Editor’s note: I’m glad she didn’t put down her camera!]
It was all about toys, ingeniously arranged by either color, series, or size. And what toys they were – the absolute stuff of every collector’s dreams. From Kozik’s busts and Yoshitomo Nara’s angry girls to KAWS’s X-eyed creatures and Ron English’s Mickey Mouse-breasted Marilyn, each display was full of sweet surprises waiting to be discovered by the visitor. This was truly one of the most impressive exhibitions I have ever seen, and, as an art lover, I have seen my share of exhibitions over the years. My emotions ranged from quiet appreciation to burning envy of Selim Varol, the lucky (and surely patient) owner of this amazing collection. The exhibition will be on show until October 14, 2012. If you are in Berlin, don’t just go there. Run.
Listen to Irit!
This virtual tour takes you on a journey through designer toys, urban vinyl, toy art and all the other names given to this special genre over the years. Look out for pieces by Jermaine Rogers, Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Yoshitomo Nara, Doze Green, Gary Baseman, Gary Taxali, KAWS, Luke Chueh, Takashi Murakami, Tim Biskup, Keith Haring, Buff Monster, Ferg, Mars-1, Flying Fortress, Bubi Au Yeung, Frank Kozik, Shepard Fairey, Herakut, Audrey Kawasaki, Ron English, Joe Ledbetter, coarsetoys, Brendan Monroe, Tara McPherson, James Jarvis, Kidrobot, Visionaire and many, many more.
See Selim’s collection through October 14th, 2012 at Me Collectors Room in Berlin. (Tuesday to Sunday, 12PM-6PM). Click through to view 50+ of Irit’s excellent photos. An exhibition catalog is also available here.