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Fine Art Given Away to Exclusive Patrons at Fashion Week

By Della Hasselle | September 13, 2012 1:54pm

LINCOLN SQUARE — Those lucky enough to hold tickets to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week most exclusive shows had a chance for even greater fortune — when fine art was handed out for free.

Select fashion bloggers, emerging designers and models had the chance to win a work of art each day, thanks to a competition run by contemporary art sellers Artspace — and including pieces by fashion photographer Pamela Hanson and contemporary artist David Levinthal.

"I think it's absolutely great — inspiration can come from anywhere — so I think it's a good fit for Fashion Week, as a liason between fashion and art," said Nicole Sorice, a buyer who stopped to peruse the contemporary pieces on her way to Nanette Lapore's Spring 2013 collection.

"It absolutely applies [to fashion] because you never know what you're going to find in terms of a color scheme or design that can translate into a fabric, or wearable art."

Artspace allowed its winning contestants — most often the attendees of the runway shows held at the tents' stages and theaters — to pick the item of their choice after each draw.

As Fashion Week drew to a close Thursday, Artspace's corporate program manager said that the most popular pieces included a painting of masked dancers by Marcel Dzama, photographs of vintage Barbies by David Levinthal and images of zany suits both designed and photographed by Nick Cave.

"People seem very excited that we're here," said Artspace's Anna Edwards, adding that the crowds seemed to correlate with runway shows held by famously high-end designers. "People who like DVF and Jill Stuart also seem to really like contemporary art."

On Wednesday, spectators coming from Michael Kors and Nanette Lepore also seemed to be interested in the pieces.

"I keep looking at the turntable [one of the photographic images], but I don't know if that's because as I'm coming out of all of these shows the music is really moving," said Flatiron district Jennifer Manguino, who works in finance.

"And the piece with the two shoes — it's like they're dressing, or they're in the bathroom, and it's part of the hype, because it reminds me of girls are going out to the clubs and getting ready," added her friend Jean Mra, who lives on the Upper West Side and works in finance.

"It really just speaks to what this is all about — having a lot of fun, lots of girls, getting dressed up and dancing."

For Noelly Sam, the president of the blog Miss Sly, the pop-up exhibit was a good way to introduce a different form of art to potential high-end buyers.

"I think it should have been done earlier. Just like fashion illustration, fashion is a form of art itself," Sam said. "It's a great way to kind of have the two worlds coexist, and maybe to inspire people coming to shows who don't know a lot about fine art."

Some spectators, however, weren't quite as impressed.

"It's quite comical. I think it's funny," said model Cynthia Carino. "I like it, but it makes me laugh."