It’s not the Traveling Wilburys — but next month, Louis Vuitton’s acclaimed traveling show, “200 Trunks, 200 Visionaries: The Exhibition,” will activate the former Barneys space at 660 Madison Ave., The Post has learned.
To celebrate what would have been the 200th birthday of Louis Vuitton himself on Aug. 4, 2021, the company invited “a mosaic of talents and friends” to personalize a “metaphorical blank canvas” in the form of an original 1850s Louis Vuitton trunk.
For the exhibitions, rooms are entirely decorated to showcase the unique works from the likes of South Korean pop group BTS, “The Simpsons,” architect Peter Marino, architect Frank Gehry and even Brooklyn Balloon Company by Robert Moy.
Lego, for instance, created a birthday cake with Louis Vuitton’s face in the frosting, while Brooklyn illustrator Raphael Tanghal’s snake is a metaphor for 13-year-old Louis Vuitton’s “serpentine” two-year trek by foot to Paris.
“It’s a creative way of connecting with the heritage of Louis Vuitton,” said Matthew Bauer, president of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District, who was excited by news of the pop-up. “Barneys is sorely missed and an activation by Louis Vuitton emphasizes that Madison Avenue is a place where their clients shop and will support the other brands here on the avenue.”
Robin Zendell & Associates represented the LVMH-owned company in the short-term lease. The Barneys space covered 275,000 square feet, but it is still unclear how much will be used for the exhibit. Neither Zendell nor Louis Vuitton’s reps returned requests for comment by press time.
The exhibition, which started its global tour in Singapore and just finished up a summer in Beverly Hills, will open on Oct. 14 and run through New Year’s Eve.
After it makes its way around the world, the trunks will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s to benefit 15 international charities that support and inspire creativity in young people, while Louis Vuitton is donating $10,000 in the name of each of the 200 artists. The charities include Writopia Lab in the US, as well as Kër ImagiNation in Senegal.
This isn’t the first time Louis Vuitton has hosted city pop-ups on Madison Avenue, as it used 655 Madison for a tropical holiday menswear collection as well as its “Louis Vuitton Masters — a Collaboration with Jeff Koons” that featured purses decorated as if they were painted by old masters including van Gogh and da Vinci.
The brand also opened a travel pop-up at Brookfield Place in 2017 for its in conjunction with its buzzy “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez — Louis Vuitton” exhibition at the American Stock Exchange building at nearby 86 Trinity Place in the Financial District.