Talking Art with Louis Vuitton

Since its inception in 1854, famed French fashion house, Louis Vuitton has acted as a pioneer, melding the world of fashion with those of travel, art, and culture; crossing boundaries and forging relationships, in an effort to educate the world.

The year was 1997 when Marc Jacobs took the reigns at Louis Vuitton as Artistic Director. Under his [quite] artistic direction, the house embarked on collaborative journeys with such major names in art as Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami, and Richard Prince—the pieces born of these projects remain iconic and those who have them treasure the collectables dearly. Today, Louis Vuitton continues to explore the world of art in different ways, including specially commissioned installations and ongoing arts education programs. Since 2006, one of those educational platforms has been the Louis Vuitton Art Talks—a program designed to deliver detailed insight into the life and work of an artist. For the first of its kind in Miami, VIP’s, industry insiders, collectors, philanthropists, and friends of the house gathered yesterday evening for an intimate discussion between celebrated artists, Vik Muniz and Gringo Cardia, who were introduced to the crowd by Louis Vuitton North America’s President and CEO, Valérie Chapoulaud-Floquet.

Louis Vuitton first partnered with Muniz when they celebrated their 20 years in Brazil; and this reunion happens in step with Vuitton’s relocation from Bal Harbour Shops to a new and expanded space in Aventura Mall which will house Muniz’s installation, Innumerable—a wood and canvas sculpture inspired by Louis Vuitton’s iconic “LV” logo. The piece was created in collaboration with students from Spectaculu, a School of Scenic Arts, Design, and Photography, started by Cardia, meant to aid said students in their professional development in high-risk environments in and around Rio de Janeiro. Students that Muniz interestingly explains were almost “invisible (before this experience) because they look like the city; like insects who resemble leaves.” Lost no more, these children have forever left their mark through this platform.

Muniz went on to explain, “The process of the students actually making the art makes a difference when one is talking about educating. It was about attracting the students to have a desire to learn that they never had before because they finally felt that they had the opportunity to have their ideas seen by someone else.” He went on to liken the experience to a rescue mission, where this became the first step towards success for these children; and to commend the House of Louis Vuitton for stepping outside the confines of what is traditionally associated with a luxury house of such status to spread a powerful message across the globe.

Muniz also spoke to the audience-which included such major players as Alonzo and Tracy Mourning, Iran Issa Khan, Greg Lotus, Ambra Medda, Laure Heriard-Dubreuil, Walid and Susie Wahab, amongst many others-about the role they play in his art. “The artist only does half the job;” he said, “the other half is done by the people who come in contact with the work.”

And it’s a good thing the crowd included such a varied mix; as it turns out Muniz feels “it’s not just about the number of people who see a show, but the diversity of the people who see it.”