Michèle Lamy (b.1944, Jura, France), eludes simple categorization. An artist, entrepreneur, producer, collaborator, and performer who studied philosophy under post-structuralist Gilles Deleuze and worked as a defense lawyer before becoming life partner to Rick Owens, with whom she co-founded their empire, Owenscorp, and where she is also the Managing Director of Art and Furniture.
Since its introduction in 2005, Lamy has worked closely with the artisans in the construction process for the Rick Owens furniture line. Lamy has co-curated and worked closely on the Carol Rama exhibitions at Musee D’Art Moderne, with artist Rick Owens Furniture (2015) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2016) along the works of Steven Parrino.
In 2014, Lamy created ‘LAMYLAND,’ an umbrella term for her independent creative endeavors, bringing together all the essential elements integral to her practice – experimentation, collaboration, storytelling, and creation. It is a natural progression to her infamous Les Deux Cafes, the LA cabaret spot she founded, curated, and ran in the 1990s. LAMYLAND is a cultural movement: often, at its core, it is an architectural installation that functions as a communal gathering space for performances, social engagement, and contemplation.
Also, in 2014 and under LAMYLAND, Lamy launched her ‘BARGE’ concept – a project which gathered influencers from all walks of creative life in an informal yet aesthetically inspiring environment where exchange could connect. The first barge, ‘Bargel,’ launched at Frieze London in October 2014, followed by ‘Bargenale’ at the Venice Biennale in 2015 and 2017. A LAMYLAND ‘salon-on-sea.’ In July 2015, Lamy was invited by the artist Doug Aitken to re-create her ‘Bargican’ magic within his ‘Station to Station’ exhibition at the Barbican Centre London. Each ‘Barge’ had unique features, including a recording studio, a restaurant, a theatre, and an art gallery. Lamy wanted ‘Barge’ to be a travel ‘Heaven of peace’ for those who experienced it.
“I wanted to make a place to be. A place where all my friends can come. And where I can be surprised by new people too.” – Michèle Lamy
Lamy is also a regular collaborator of THE SKATEROOM, a B Corporation that works closely with the world’s most influential artists to empower international skate and education non-profits &
projects. Often referred to as the ‘Godmother’ of THE SKATEROOM, Lamy has also helped curate their first collective show, ‘What Are We Skating For?’.
‘What Are We Skating For?’ was an extension of Lamy’s (2018) ‘What Are We Fighting For,’ which grew from her love for boxing. A boxing theme bazaar housed in London retailer Selfridges, ‘What Are We Fighting For,’ was a 3-month residency that included a boxing ring, branded merchandise, installation artworks, and themed collaborations with brands from Supreme to Versace.
Lamy has produced boxing-themed projects throughout the years from collaborating with New York’s underground boxing club Overthrow to a boxing installation at the Venice Biennale.
”Boxing is a great metaphor for life. It is about standing for what you believe in” – Michèle Lamy
In 2017, Lamy formed the conceptual band LAVASCAR with the artists Nico Vascellari, Rocco Rampino, and her daughter Scarlett Rouge. Since then, she has been performing and collaborating with several artists. Lavascar has released two albums with lyrics derived from the poetry of Langston Hughes and Etal Adnan, respectively, and has been invited to perform at the Pompidou and Foundation Lafayette in Paris and the Triennale in Milan. Lamy also performed a set with Ryoji Ikeda in Art Basel Switzerland.
Lamy’s love for curation and working with different creatives has been carried throughout the years and manifested in many projects. Most recently, she’s helped curate the group exhibition ‘Sweet Lust’ at White Cube Paris with Mathieu Paris, the office of Kim Kardashian in Los Angeles, and the ‘Turning Tricks’ exhibition at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in Los Angeles; all three projects took place in 2022.
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