Pharrell Williams Guest Curates Design Exchange’s ‘This Is Not A Toy’ Exhibition

Above: This Is Not a Toy at Canada's Design Exchange features Better Knowing, a 60" wood sculpture by New York artist KAWS
Above: This Is Not a Toy at Canada's Design Exchange features Better Knowing, a 60" wood sculpture by New York artist KAWS

The Design Exchange in Toronto is playing host to an exciting new exhibition that explores the “conceptual toy.” Curated by John Wee Tom, Sara Nickelson and guest curated by Grammy-winning producer and self-proclaimed kid at heart Pharrell Williams, This Is Not A Toy: An Exhibition of Contemporary Art and Collectible Design brings famed artists like KAWS, Takashi Murakami, Coarse, Huck Gee, Friendswithyou and Misaki Kawai together under one roof.

The first-of-its-kind exhibit takes its name from the disclaimer found on the packages of objects that may be called toys, but aren’t really meant for play… or kids. The DX’s Exhibition Hall has been transformed into a candy-coloured space filled with limited edition look, but don’t play with designer toys – often called urban vinyl – and fascinating pieces of contemporary art. The playful sculptures and highly collectable figurines on display are part merchandise, part art and range in price from just a few dollars to thousands more. Larger-than-life paintings hang on the walls throughout the space. Most impressive? A large painting of The Smurfs and another of SpongeBob, both by New York artist Kaws, are on loan from Williams’ personal collection.

Inside The Design Exchange's This Is Not A Toy Exhibition

Of course, experience the art and toys is encouraged. DX visitors can watch animated videos scattered throughout the space, listen to in-depth interviews with vinyl toy designers and contemporary fine artists and walk through custom built interactive spaces. A trippy Rainbow Vortex room was created by L.A.-based artist collaborative FriendsWithYou, while a fun space with oversized plush creations by DOMA is guaranteed to bring out the kid in you.

This Is Not A Toy is on display until Monday, May 19 2014 at The Design Exchange, 234 Bay Street, Toronto.

Christopher Turner

AmongMen’s Editor-in-Chief is a well-respected fashion and style writer whose works have appeared in Fashionism, Fashion Television, MSN, DesignLines, the Kaboose Network, the Disney Family Network and Sun Media. He also has a collection of designer kicks that would make Imelda Marcos blush and lives in Toronto’s trendy east end. Follow him at: @Turnstylin.

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