“It’s not just about the red dots next to the paintings,” Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld said of the “Sold” sticky labels that spotted his retrospective, Richard Hambleton New York: The Godfather of Street Art. “It is about coming up with different ways of selling art, of showing it, of communicating art to the public.”
Notwithstanding, utterly handy that a considerable majority of the images selected by Restoin-Roitfeld and his collaborator in law-breaking (make that “curation”), Andy Valmorbida, sold rapidly at the pop-up showcase at London’s Old Dairy—after all, nothing can send an electric charge through a mass, yet a starry one like this, like the sound of ka-ching in the atmosphere. Surely, the tills were busy, leading to a very special vibe at the post-show banquet at Q-Forum. The guests included Restoin-Roitfeld’s proud parents, Carine Roitfeld and Christian Restoin, doting girlfriend Giovanna Battaglia, Lapo Elkann, Nick Rhodes, actor Matthew Goode, Caroline Sieber, and, representing la famiglia Armani, who worked in partnership with VRR and Valmorbida on the retrospective, Roberta Armani.
“My uncle admires Richard Hambleton’s work immensely,” Armani clarified, as she geared up to take flight to Copenhagen the next day for an Armani shop opening. “When Vlad approached us to collaborate with him on this project, we immediately said yes, because in my uncle’s mind, Hambleton is ageless, tireless. He has this energy, and certainly is one of the most inspirational artists alive.”
Encouraging but not essentially foreseeable, according to Valmorbida. “Working with Hambleton was an incredible journey—but not for wimps,” he said. “I felt like I had to wear a rubber suit to protect myself from all the syringes that inhabit his world. It’s been wild, but hugely gratifying. We feel incredible now that this show has been such a success. If anyone in the art world deserves it, it is Hambleton.”