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September 3 2014

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Braving The World Of Street Art’s Godfather

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“It’s not just about the red dots next to the paintings,” Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld said of the “Sold” stickers that dotted his exhibition, Richard Hambleton New York: The Godfather of Street Art. “It is about coming up with different ways of selling art, of showing it, of communicating art to the public.”

Still, quite handy that a vast majority of the pictures picked by Restoin-Roitfeld and his partner in crime (make that “curation”), Andy Valmorbida, sold quickly at the pop-up exhibition at London’s Old Dairy—after all, nothing can send an electric charge through a crowd, even a starry one like this, like the sound of ka-ching in the air. Certainly, the tills were busy, leading to a very celebratory vibe at the post-show dinner at Q-Forum. The diners included Restoin-Roitfeld’s proud parents, Carine Roitfeld and Christian Restoin, doting girlfriend Giovanna Battaglia, Lapo Elkann, Nick Rhodes, actor Matthew Goode, Caroline Sieber, and, representing la famiglia Armani, who collaborated with VRR and Valmorbida on the exhibition, Roberta Armani.

“My uncle admires Richard Hambleton’s work immensely,” Armani explained, as she geared up to fly to Copenhagen the next day for an Armani store opening. “When Vlad approached us to collaborate with him on this project, we immediately said yes, because in my uncle’s mind, Hambleton is ageless, tireless. He has this energy, and certainly is one of the most inspirational artists alive.”

Inspirational but not necessarily predictable, according to Valmorbida. “Working with Hambleton was an incredible journey—but not for wimps,” he said. “I felt like I had to wear a rubber suit to protect myself from all the syringes that inhabit his world. It’s been wild, but hugely gratifying. We feel incredible now that this show has been such a success. If anyone in the art world deserves it, it is Hambleton.”

Photos: Courtesy of Giorgio Armani

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