LA’s pioneering Young Projects Gallery at the Pacific Design Center is a really special place, performing an essential service to the local art landscape through its visionary and expert focus on presenting video-based contemporary art. But while certainly not lacking in critical and popular acclaim, video art as a rule is notoriously hard to sell. Multiple channels, large-format projection or expensive digital monitors required, not to mention the motion and frequent audio components — you think it’s hard to sell paintings, try this stuff. Even the genre’s biggest fans have trouble incorporating the actual work into the space of their lives. So how does a gallery, which is, after all, partly a business, keep its doors open, when its program is full of such daunting “objects.” It gets creative.
The gallery has launched YP Tees — “an artist’s T-shirt line that is devoted entirely to celebrating and supporting artists and artist-run spaces. Each shirt features an artwork by some of today’s most exciting artists, many of whom have shown at the Young Projects Gallery.” They’re limited-edition and extremely rare, presented within an art context. Even the shopping site has a great deal of information on the artists, as much as a gallery site. Artists like Charlie White, Kenneth Anger, and Ben Jones are in on it. And with some of the raddest possible models rocking the shirts (Chloe Sevigny, Charlize Theron, Lil Wayne) it’s a gallery in its own right.
Paul Young explains that the idea is “to bring major contemporary artworks directly into the lives of those who are familiar with, and adore, the work of these artists. In many ways the model is a more sophisticated take on the best concert merch — but for art instead of rock ‘n’ roll.”
(All photos courtesy Young Projects)