MZ Wallace Launches Kerry James Marshall Tote in Support of MCA Chicago

MZ Wallace is known for its handbags: the brand’s iconic quilted nylon tote is notoriously gym + work + cocktails ready. As iconic as they are, the brand’s designs make up only the beloved nucleus of a much fuller orbit of work.

The multifaceted duo behind MZ Wallace comes from the fashion and fashion editorial worlds, and is inextricably linked to the art world; Monica Zwirner (the name’s “MZ”) is married to gallerist David Zwirner. Since they partnered up back in 1999, Zwirner and Lucy Wallace Eustice have launched collaborations with other fashion and art world notables through their MZ Wallace Gives Back program. The likes of Cynthia Rowley, Raymond Pettibon, Glenn Ligon and photographer Sophie Elgort have provided art or contributed to the design of limited edition totes, whose proceeds have gone to support various foundations or causes with which the collaborators jointly share an intimate connection.

The front of KJMxMZWallace tote

Now, marking the seventh of these collaborations, the brand has partnered with American artist Kerry James Marshall on a tote whose net proceeds will benefit educational programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the city where Marshall currently lives and works.

Born in pre-Civil Rights Act Alabama and raised in Los Angeles, California, Marshall has carried into his work an exploration of Black America(n) identity and socio-history. With his large scale, colourful, spiritually evocative works on canvas, he’s ossified his Black characters into the canon of American art, in which their representation has been so glaringly absent.

KJMxMZWallace3 InteriorPocket

KJMxMZWallace tote interior pocket

Citing “the impact his paintings are having on art history,” MCA Chicago Pritzker Director Madeleine Grynsztejn says she has “the deepest admiration” for the artist. “Great artwork, such as Kerry’s remarkable paintings, [is] both grounded in, and transcend[s], the timely and the local.”

The new MZ Wallace + Kerry James Marshall tote features his Untitled (Painter), 2009, a portrait of a woman whose gaze fixes the viewer’s, and whose canvas, mid-painting, self-referentially acknowledges its own medium; the placement of this image on a new form of canvas – the tote – subverts the confinement of its message, its subject, and its audience’s attention to a singular dimension.

In the form of MZ Wallace’s characteristic Quilted Oxford Nylon Metro Tote, with Marshall’s imagery printed on each side, this collaboration art piece accords with the brand’s intention of stylishness and functionality. Beyond its artfulness, it’s water-resistant, stain resistant, and, again, fully contributory to the causes of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.



KJMxMZWallace2 Back


Back of the KJMxMZWallace tote collaboration

by Emily-Rae Pellerin

The limited edition tote officially launchs on October 15, coinciding with the museum’s celebrated 50th anniversary. It is available through MZ Wallace and at the MCA Chicago store.

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