At Tiffany’s NYC flagship, luxe art helps sell the jewels

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Apr 03, 2024, 12:45 PM


Apr 03, 2024, 12:45 PM

NEW YORK – Now that tickets to the Museum of Modern Art are an astonishing US$30 (S$41) apiece, you could be forgiven for timing your visits carefully, making sure that they count.

So, let us say you find yourself in midtown Manhattan with an hour or two to spare, and you are yearning for some culture. Perhaps you have seen MoMA’s latest exhibitions, or you are not quite in the mood to fork out that kind of money. May I instead suggest stopping by Tiffany & Co’s flagship store in Fifth Avenue?

There are no Demoiselles d’Avignon or Starry Night there, but what The Landmark (as it is called) does offer is a heady fusion of contemporary art and luxury retailing that is as relevant, and discomfiting, as anything you could hope to find in a museum.

After a renovation by American architect Peter Marino that debuted in April 2023, 58 pieces by major artists that he selected – many of them blue, silver or both – now fill the 84-year-old building.

A colour-shifting James Turrell oval is embedded in a wall near one set of lift doors. Hanging by another is a shiny Damien Hirst cabinet filled with rows of cubic zirconia. Hovering next to the engagement rings is one of Anish Kapoor’s eye-bending mirrored discs.

On the ground floor, 14 arched window frames glow with a state-of-the-art animation by Oyoram Visual Composer, of the Manhattan skyline and Central Park. The city is immaculate, with no people, just birds.

And that giant-size, faux-deteriorated Venus Of Arles with a Tiffany Blue patina? That comes from the mind of Daniel Arsham, who has devoted his career to such banal corporate collaborations. He has designed a limited-edition bracelet and sculpture for the brand, as well as “exclusive Pokemon-inspired jewellery”.

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