THIS WAS NOT A TOY!

Images. DX Exchange

A vinyl toy exhibit at Toronto’s DX Exchange showcased ‘not for kids’ vinyls as both a legit art form & radical design outlet

Last February, long time friends of elemente magazine and the Toronto design scene put together a rather different art exhibit – one with a toy twist. The Design Exchange (DX) Canada’s Design Museum, hosted the world’s first ever large-scale exhibition dedicated solely to the medium of urban vinyl as contemporary art. The exhibit which ran until May of 2014 gave vinyl fans the opportunity to see firsthand the phenomenon of designer “toys” as the DX Exhibition Hall was transformed and filled with toys ranging from the small to gigantic free-standing pieces.

Guest curated by state-trooper hat wearing singer/songwriter/producer Pharrell Williams, the exhibit featured international works from artists like: Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, DOMA, Misaki Kawai, Bill McMullen, Frank Kozik, Coarse, Huck Gee, and other influential toy artists, plus producers Kidrobot and Medicom. The Canadian component included toys by: Douglas Coupland, Castor Design, Bruno Billio, Bruce Mau Design, Julie Moon, Sid Lee Collective, Doublenaut Design, Team Macho, Rhed and Blok Design.

“These are toys in name only. They play with perceptions, imagination and expectations of what a toy is. But unlike ordinary toys, they have something for the designer or art critic because of their underlying messages. They’re just cool for kids, adults, jaded teens, hipsters, fashionistas, designers, artists and culture hounds alike.”
John Wee Tom, Exhibition Initiator and Co-Curator

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