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August 28 2014

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Reigning Supreme

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Supreme, James Jebbia’s adored skate and skatewear brand, is having a moment—again. I say so with hesitation and trepidation, since the very concept of “having a moment” (the faddishness, the transitoriness, the triviality) is one that Jebbia most likely loathes, and has worked hard during the entire existence of Supreme to avoid. Supreme doesn’t court press, celebrities, or global ubiquity. (That may be exactly the reason that the likes of Kate Moss, Lou Reed, and Kermit the Frog have all signed on to be in its guerrilla ad campaigns.) But whether Jebbia would like it or not, Supreme does seem to be making news again, with the Times weighing in recently on its durable merits and the new issue of Britain’s GQ Style calling it “the coolest streetwear brand in the world right now.”

Arguably all of those publications are merely trailing in the wake of the much-loved Berlin biannual 032c, which published its own history of Supreme last year. But rather than dwell on (or stew in) its preeminence on the subject, the magazine instead took another step forward, organizing an exhibition of sorts in the eight-meter, Konstantin Grcic-designed vitrine that’s housed in its editorial office. In the past, that vitrine has been dedicated to showing the work of 032c collaborators like Juergen Teller, Helmut Lang, and Tate Modern director Chris Dercon; now it’s given over to the artist-collaboration skate decks Supreme has created over the year, with people like Takashi Murakami, Christopher Wool, Harmony Korine, and Damien Hirst. “It made perfect sense to invite Supreme, which has created an incredible mythology, to exhibit their series of artist collaborations, a project that has been going on now for over a decade,” 032c‘s Joerg Koch says. “The skate decks are a systematic approach to the relationship between art, consumerism, and hype.” The magazine’s own systematic approach to commemorating this particular relationship between art and hype was a more traditional one: a raging party.


Photos: Courtesy of 032c; Maxime Ballesteros and Lukas Gansterer (party photos)

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Dept. of Culture