I have a thing for advent calendars, and I’ll take the beautiful old-school paper ones from the German company Sellmer Verlag over the molded chocolate ones any day. But in recent years, the advent calendar concept has mutated into a novelty item in extremis. More than a few are tailor-made for adults rather than children, delivering a daily boost to those who “need a little Christmas right this very minute” in innumerable forms, from beauty products to tea sachets and porcelain ornaments.
Yay to all of this, if that wasn’t clear!
Now, who remembers Tiffany & Co.’s advent calendar from 2019, which famously retailed for $112,000? As of yesterday, the brand is back with a 2021 version, its first since being acquired by LVMH. It’s aggressively luxurious but not in the way you might think. At four feet tall, it’s an oaken chest with shelves filled with individually wrapped jewelry and objets. And doors that display the groundbreaking American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 painting Equals Pi.
This concept tracks: In the early years of his career, Basquiat painted on everyday objects such as windows, doors, and refrigerators, recontextualizing objects using cardboard, plywood, and other materials.
And if the frenetic mathematical equations, text, figures, and symbols look familiar, they are: Equals Pi can be seen in Tiffany & Co.’s “About Love” campaign starring Jay-Z and Beyoncé. It was the first time that this privately owned work had ever been seen in public, and now its star turn continues with the advent calendar in tribute to both the artist’s use of unconventional mediums and the rebellious, creative spirit of New York City.
According to a press release, the jeweler will donate $250,000 from purchases of the 2021 advent calendar to Free Arts NYC; the funds will support a series of programs that will give children from underserved communities in New York City greater exposure to the creative arts.
We were not apprised of the advent calendar’s retail price, but the OG Equals Pi is worth well into the eight figures (more intel on that here).
Top: Santa baby, come and trim my Christmas tree with some decorations bought at Tiffany’s—oh, and can you box that in some Basquiat, too, please? Thanks. Tiffany & Co. Artwork © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York.
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