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Design Exchange (DX), Canada’s Design Museum, opens its playful exhibition “This is Not A Toy,” guest curated by musician and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams, today until May 19, 2014. (If you’ve seen his Miami penthouse on HGTV’s FrontDoor.com, then you know he loves his designer toys.)

This Is Not a Toy

The exhibition takes its name from the disclaimer found on packaging for objects that may be called toys, but aren’t meant for play. Ranging in price from just a few dollars to thousands more, these figures are part merchandise, part art. While the creators of these art toys may utilize technical methods of mass production, they do so in a way that produces variation, unique expression and limited edition objects. Instigator and co-curator John Wee Tom and DX associate curator Sara Nickelson, along with Williams, present a tightly-edited presentation of work from over a dozen of the most prolific toy designers and contemporary fine artists in the collectibles category. “This is Not A Toy” transforms DX’s Exhibition Hall into a candy-colored space evoking genuine happiness through exuberant, imaginative works. The exhibition will even feature prized items from Williams’ personal art collection.

This Is Not a Toy

This Is Not a Toy

Rainbow Vortex by FriendsWithYou at This is Not a Toy

With its origins in 80s and 90s graffiti culture, the small release toy is an underground art form that at once represents rebellion and playfulness. At the same time a product of consumer culture and a defensible piece of art, these works both reject and appropriate familiar consumer imagery, and manipulate household names, cartoons and cultural icons. The result is a powerful one, shifting control from brand to artist and finally, to consumer. Some artists manipulate and leverage familiar visual communication as tribute or provocation, while others create their own original forms, characters and worlds to convey their ideas of a more affected existence.

This Is Not a Toy

Master Control & Carne by DOMA, alongside FriendsWithYou’s Cloudy, an animated short film, & Misaki Kawai’s Pink Arty

This Is Not a Toy

Experience design at the Design Exchange. Check out the exhibit starting today.

8 Responses

  1. yolanda says:

    This is so wonderful, vibrant and such a great exhibit. Wish it was touring so everyone could enjoy the creativity and love that is shown.

  2. Tabatha says:

    Awesome

  3. Truly the creation is amazing where art & playfulness have been combined to give a new effect. Hope it brings learning to the kids with its production.

  4. HArvey says:

    Really its so different than what you normally see these days…..
    This was awesome

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Kayla KittsKayla Kitts is an editor for HGTV.com. You can find her doing at least one of the following: shopping for home decor at local vintique stores, picking out produce at...

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