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On Tuesday evening, in a warehouse on Manhattan’s far West Side, the California artist George Herms was about to put the finishing touches on a white mannequin dressed in a black Carhartt jacket. Abstract reflective shapes he called his “barbecue moon rocks” hung around him. There was an inkpad at his feet.
“The love stamp is what I’ve been putting on every work of art since 1960,” Herms said. “It’s like my imprimatur. It means it’s done.”
Herms was waiting for Adam Kimmel, who had enlisted him to design the windows at Barneys New York for his collaboration with the workwear brand Carhartt, to apply the stamp. Kimmel made his way over with his wife, Leelee Sobieski. Hand-in-hand, Herms and the actress applied a rubber stamp letter “L” to the mannequin’s face. Kimmel helped on the “O.”
On the other side of a velvet rope that cordoned off Herms’ work space in the Barneys studio, a party was taking shape. Downtown and Brooklyn types drinking Schlitz and Pabst Blue Ribbon took pictures with their iPhones. In the next work space over, Kimmel’s other collaborators, the Portland, Ore.-based art collective Paintallica, were applying a wood burning iron to totem pole-like tree trunk sculptures. One of the group’s members, the painter Dan Attoe, took an occasional gulp from a red gasoline container filled with beer.
“They’re from the Pacific Northwest and it’s not something you see everyday in New York,” Kimmel said. “You have a lot of guys in New York that try to be all rough and tumble, but these guys are the real thing.”