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This is not a toy exhibition @ Design Exchange

  • Kaws Companion Resting Place
December 17, 2013

For fans of the genre, urban vinyl (aka designer toys, art toys, conceptual toys, etc.) is not new. However, it is still a relatively niche art form and has been largely ignored by public museums and institutions. This Is Not A Toy is an important exhibition presented by the Design Exchange, Canada’s only museum dedicated to design and related art forms.

The title of the exhibition is taken from the disclaimer frequently found on toys not meant for small children, but also references Rene Magritte’s seminal painting Ceci n’est pas une pipe and the Duchampian notion of what constitutes art. This Is Not A Toy considers the conceptual toy as accessible art and design object, unique contemporary cultural signifier and fetishistic commercial product.

Co-curated by Pharrell Williams, initiator John Wee Tom and DX Associate Curator Sara Nickleson, the exhibition will be a tightly-edited presentation of work from some of the best and most prolific toy designers in urban vinyl displayed alongside pieces by contemporary artists who use the toy form as just one of their mediums of artistic expression. Among the artists included are KAWS, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, FriendsWithYouHuck Gee, Coarse, Frank Kozik, Misaki Kawai, Doma, Bill McMullen and many others. Examples of what you can expect to see in the exhibition…

An important aspect of the exhibition is an interactive time-based installation which will have This is Not a Toy visitors with paintball guns customizing up to 150 seven inch blank Munnys over the course of the show’s run. Toronto’s own Magic Pony will be presenting an installation on the history of the genre with many important pieces from urban vinyl’s early days. We have also asked 10 of Canada’s leading designers and artists (including Jeremy Laing, Bruce Mau Design, Sid Lee Collective, Blok Design, Rhed, Castor Design, Team Macho, Julie Moon, Doublenaut and Bruno Billio)  to each customize an 18″ Munny which will then be given as reward (along with the 7″ Munnys) to our Kickstarter funders in support of the exhibition.


Why DX needs your Help

The DX is a not-for-profit museum and like many cultural institutions, we rely on support from donors and friends. Urban vinyl as an art movement is still relatively unknown, which is why we’re reaching out to the Kickstarter community – many of whom already know and enjoy urban vinyl as collectors and fans – for support and to help spread the word.

Pharrell is generously donating his time, items from his collection and his personal creative efforts to support the exhibition so that we can bring you the most exciting spread of urban vinyl and contemporary art imaginable.

For additional details and the option to contribute to help fund the exhibition, head on over to the exhibit’s Kickstarter project page.

Pharrell Willams By Terry Richardson
Pharrell Willams By Terry Richardson

Retrieved from Kickstarter and DX