When the Hotel Shop Is an Art Gallery — Tomoko Sugimoto’s Witty Paintings Take Over The Standard

You’ don’t see many art galleries amidst the relentless array of shops, restaurants and bars in the Meatpacking District. (You don’t see many butchers, either, but that’s another story.)

So score one for the Shop at the Standard High Line NYC. This amusingly curated emporia sells hotel requisites like toothpaste, contact lens solution and magazines (a blend of American and foreign) but also showcases the work of contemporary artists. Besides stocking the shop with art that doesn’t cost a fortune – artist Ryan McGinness produced a deck of cards — featured participants paint the windows.

Popping 1

Popping 1 by Toko Sugimoto (Standard photo)

Window art means the artist has to show up to put brush – or marker – to glass.  We chanced by the Standard on Wednesday just as Tomoko Sugimoto, a Brooklyn artist and illustrator by way of Tokyo, was transforming the windows for her show “Through the Looking-Glass, and What I Found There,” on view through January 2013.

Sugimoto’s round little canvases feature delicate acrylic renderings of girlish (and boyish) figures falling, falling, falling, like Alice, and looking vaguely ecstatic at the prospect. Indeed, flip the images around and her figures look like they’re jumping for joy.  A wooden embroidery hoop frames each canvas, a nod at the sunburst — or rabbit hole — of  embroidered gold threads and a wink, it seems, at the current crafts movement. You can take one of these clever originals home for $380.

Popping 5 by Toko Sugimoto (Standard photo)

Sugimoto’s cartoon-inflected figures cascade over the shop windows. We watched her apply paper mock-ups with tape and outline them onto the glass in black. After batting away a holiday snowflake suspended in the window directly in her path, Sugimoto politely asked if the offending decoration could be temporary removed. It was, and she got back to work.

Sugimoto studied art in Tokyo at Musahino Art University before moving to New York and earning a masters degree at the School of Visual Arts.  For over a decade she has worked as painting director at the studio of Takashi Murakami, the international contemporary artist famed for audaciously blending the lines between art and commerce (he collaborated with Marc Jacobs to create bags for Louis Vuitton but is also known for his Superflat theory of painting rooted in Japanese art history).

In addition to paintings, Sugimoto creates whimsical box collages. Her work has been shown in galleries in Tokyo, Miami and New York. Add a smart New York hotel shop her resume.





2 replies
  1. Renny
    Renny says:

    The art seems simple yet cerebral, with its Alice in Wonderland theme. Kudos to the Standard for giving Ms. Sugimoto its windows as a canvas.


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