October 3, 2019
June 24, 2019 |
Festive Gay Pride! This can only be your first thought when you walk off the elevator into the second-floor loft space at 260 Fifth Avenue where the Maison 10 shop is located.
Diagonal strips in colors of the Gay Pride flag cover the walls, the ceiling, and the floor which was created by artists, Devin Utah and Laur Duvall. It’s immersive. It’s mood-lifting. And it sets the tone for the hand-selected merchandise that perches on plinths and tables in Maison 10’s airy, light-filled concept store and art gallery.
Ten is the guiding number for understanding this shop’s fascinating rotation of merchandise, as well as its commitment to philanthropy. The easy-to-remember concept was developed by founders Henri Myers, Tom Blackie and Carsten Klein.
10 weeks, the duration of each exhibition cycle of curated artworks and products; 10 artists in different fields, all innovative and high-quality; 10 categories, such as gifts, homewares, fragrance, jewelry, books and wellbeing; 10 items from each category—no more than 100 items for each 10-week cycle; 10 percent of each sale donated to a charity; 10 charities for the consumer to choose from.
Did a numerologist guide the trio to this digit? I admit that was my somewhat amused thought. Myers’ explains: “All three of us—me in New York, Tom in Scotland and Carsten in Germany—used to venture to stores in our home towns to check out the top 10, best-selling singles and records. So, it is the number that connected the three of us the most.”
Pictured above: an excerpt of Mark Chamberlain’s "Queer Batman" series.
The regular rotation and the selection method make Maison 10 an ever-intriguing shop to put on your regular drop-by list. Myers, whose background is in fashion marketing and merchandising, says “Ten weeks is the perfect amount of time to introduce customers to new products. But it also gives them a sense of urgency if they want an item because they know the products will leave, replaced by a new collection of hand-selected items.”
Maison 10 has been a regular go-to for me since some distinct merchandise, a big orange tote, in the window of the shop’s original location caught my eye on my way to meet a friend at the Ace Hotel. I met the friend and we immediately returned to the shop. Now I drop by, discover new desirable, and sometimes yield to temptation, excitedly.
The Queer Pride Love theme of the current exhibition cycle follows one about woman, love, travel, and silver and gold. In this, Maison’s 10 fifteenth curation cycle, the artworks and products featured are created by trans artists, gay artists, lesbian artists and straight artists whose works supports the LGBTQIA+ community.
Julia Rivera’s works stand out for their playful humor and sly political awareness. Her series of rainbow-colored horse heads (called Uni-coño) or her red horse head, called “Jack Has No Balls,” spark an immediate smile. Mark Chamberlain’s "Queer Batman" series may be familiar to people from a showing of the work in 2005 and the surrounding controversy. The edginess of the concept and images are a sometimes explicit, gay-fantasy riff on the campiness that was central to the television show itself. Edouard Taufenbach is a photographer from France who slices and reassembles vintage, anonymous vernacular photographs, thus transforming the still images into alluring, almost abstract cinematic narratives.
There’s another number important to Maison 10. That number is 20: Myers 20 years experience in fashion, Blackie’s 20-year’s experience supporting the not-for-profit sector and Klein’s 20 years experience in art direction and design. This depth of experience and diversity of expertise as well as their shared contemporary sensibility for all type of products make Maison 10’s Queer Pride Love a must see—and a reason to add its cycles to your NYC must-visit list.
Photography by Julien McRoberts