Gallery Dept. founder Josué Thomas is as enigmatic as he is busy. His latest effort, Art That Kills, isn’t actually anything new, except it is. Except it isn’t. But it actually is. Or is it?
On September 11, 2023, Thomas’ birthday, the Art That Kills website quietly launched. Art That Kills is Thomas’ record label-turned “creative platform,” according to a press release, and its website is indicative of its far-reaching intent.
On the Art That Kills website, you can find the albums and music videos that it’s already released, for instance, but there’s also a lookbook — artfully titled “Freaks” — showcasing various bits of ragged, “ATK”-printed clothes, posters, and, probably most importantly for Gallery Dept. fans, some semi-affordable merch.
Now, note that when I say “affordable,” I mean affordable by Gallery Dept. standards.
But, going back to the conundrum I referenced at the beginning of this windy discourse, what makes this website launch so confusing is that most of the ATK-branded items currently for sale on the ATK web store have already been available on the Gallery Dept. website.
So… why a new website if nothing is new on the website?
ATK is even offering a restock of Gallery Department’s Vans collaboration, further blurring the lines between Josué Thomas-owned brands.
Presumably, this is paving the way for new stuff down the road but, then again, Thomas specializes in impenetrable decisions understood only by himself.
For reference, artist-cum-entrepreneur Thomas oversees the internationally-distributed Gallery Dept., the aforementioned Art That Kills, enigmatic hotel (?)/hostel (?)/luxury resort (?) Chateau Josué, and Le Bar Dé Music De La Galerie, an equally obtuse outpost whose website has expired. And they all have their own merch.
I have to admit that, as unexplained and challenging to comprehend as Thomas’ many projects are, he certainly doesn’t compromise.
It’d be so simple to just focus entirely on selling expensive wares through Gallery Dept. but Thomas instead balances a whole host of brands and imprints simultaneously, daring fans to seek out his work and spend imposing sums to acquire it.
Given the ravenous following generated by Gallery Dept. alone, I can confidently guess that there’s plenty of folks willing to take that dare head-on.
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