Sisley Art Project: 18 customized motorcycle jackets by 17 pop artists


Sisley, the Italian fashion brand of the Benetton Group, announces an exhibition and auction of motorcycle jackets specially painted by leading fine artists, benefiting The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. The project, curated by Glenn O’Brien – eighteen jackets by seventeen artists – will be unveiled on September 22nd at a gala exhibition at Palazzo Bovara, Corso Venezia, 51, during Milan Fashion Week. Then will travel to The Andy Warhol Museum where they will be on exhibit in October, culminating in the museum’s fifteenth anniversary party titled “Film, Fame and Fifteen Minutes” on October 30. A live auction of a selected number of jackets will be held at Christie’s in New York on November 8th, in coordination with the online auction, starting September 22 on, in order to facilitate international bidding.

“The culture of image, design and art has always been central to our Group,” commented Alessandro Benetton, Executive Deputy Chairman of Benetton Group. “The works of these contemporary artists affirm, in the name of Warhol, an idea of art in its time, an aesthetic process immersed in reality, in tune with the values of Sisley, a strikingly fresh and distinctive brand.”

The customized motorcycle jacket is a feature of pop culture—from Marlon Brando’s leathers in The Wild One to the colors of outlaw biker gangs, to the jackets worn by artists and musicians on the punk scene in the seventies and eighties. One famous motorcycle jacket wearer and collector was the artist Andy Warhol, who set the style in the sixties with his leather jacket, jeans, wraparound shades and Beatle boots. In the early eighties Warhol collected leather jackets, including one painted with his portrait and that of Jean-Michel Basquiat by the new wave artist Stefano.

At the time many musicians and artists wore painted jackets or jackets tagged by graffiti artists. Artist Ronnie Cutrone who contributed to this show had his motorcycle jacket tagged by many of the famous graffiti writers of the time and Glenn O’Brien, who curated this exhibition, wore a motorcycle jacket with a crown painted on the back by Jean-Michel Basquiat. The museum will exhibit the eighteen jackets commissioned by Sisley, as well as jackets from Warhol’s own collection, now part of the museum’s permanent collection, as well as others from the time.

The Andy Warhol Museum is extremely proud to participate in this innovative art project sponsored by the Benetton Group. Just as our avatar, Andy Warhol was quick to respond to the temper of his times, the Sisley brand has always caught the current trends which clearly bespeak our times in their marvelous clothing. We are also grateful for the generosity of the Group for picking our institution as the recipient of the auction proceeds of these artistic rifts on the simple leather jacket,” said Thomas Sokolowski, Director of The Andy Warhol Museum.

Contributors to this exhibition include artists of the original punk/new wave scene, Stefano Castronovo, Ronnie Cutrone, Jane Dickson, Duncan Hannah, Robert Hawkins, Kenny Scharf, and Walter Steding and key artists from the original graffiti art explosion including Frederick “Fab Five Freddy” Brathwaite, Lee Quiñones and Ouattara Watts. Several prominent younger generation artists with a similar spirit are also included: Rita Ackermann, Dan Colen, Brad Kahlhamer, Nate Lowman, Marco Perego, and Tom Sachs.

This year The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, celebrates its fifteenth anniversary. This destination institution is a crucial resource in the history of Andy Warhol, but it is also an adventurous and groundbreaking presenter of visual arts, cinema and video that reflect the adventurous spirit of Warhol. One ongoing program of the museum is the opening and cataloging of Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules, a large collection of cardboard boxes, which the artist filled with artifacts of his time. This continuing project provides a remarkably valuable window, not only into the life of Warhol, but also of his times, which might seem recent, but which, on inspection of their artifacts, appear oddly distant in style and spirit.

Sisley, the international fashion brand of the Benetton Group, is internationally recognized, with about 900 stores all around the world. Their sophisticated and iconoclastic communication campaigns together with its attention to image, research, innovation makes it always at the centre of contemporary trends and movements.


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