Ariana Grande, Spike Jonze Join Visionaire FREE Issue With CAA Art Giveaway

Visionaire CAA Grande - H 2016

The stars join designer Raf Simons along with L.A.-based artists Shepard Fairey and Sterling Ruby as contributors to the exclusive art publication's 65th issue, which will launch with free posters of their work at CAA for the week leading up to the Oscars.

Visionaire is an elusive property. Not quite a fashion publication, not quite an artist’s multiple, not quite a creative agency, Cecilia Dean and James Kaliardos’ ultra-exclusive periodical has manifested as a gleaming 10-“page” 3D gold issue with Kate Moss on the cover; an issue consisting of five 12-inch vinyl records and a MINI-branded toy car record player; an issue housed in a backpack; an issue nearly six-and-a-half feet tall that costs $2,800; and an issue with Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy that came in a wooden box.

The latest curveball, an issue titled “FREE,” is a series of posters that will be available gratis in the lobby of the CAA building in Century City during the week leading up to the Oscars. That means that from Monday, Feb. 22 through Saturday, Feb. 27, anyone can drop by the lobby at CAA (2000 Avenue of the Stars) and pick up the 25” x 39” prints. “It’s our first big event in L.A.,” Dean tells THR in a phone interview from New York. “We’re very intrigued by the city, and we want to do more work there. A weeklong public art installation is just so epic. I hope the people of L.A. come out and take free art. That’s all I want.”

The posters are designed by a diverse array of artists, from directors Spike Jonze and Gus Van Sant to pop star Ariana Grande to L.A. artists like Doug Aitken, Shepard Fairey, and Kahlil Joseph, as well as a collaboration between Sterling Ruby (an L.A.-based artist who is collected by Michael Ovitz) and Raf Simons. It’s an incredibly powerful group of creators, and Dean hopes that the availability of the work will expose it to a wide audience. “There are a lot of people out there who really love the arts and can’t afford it,” she says. “This is a great way to have beautifully printed prints by very serious artists. Doing a free issue is expensive — it’s hard to do a free issue. But it’s a partnership with Stella Artois who’ve been incredible throughout this process, and they really wanted to speak to artists, to the arts community, and they wanted to do something that was for the public, so we proposed this idea of doing a free issue, and they just loved it.”

Dean says that the “FREE” issue — the title’s 65th— will cap off 25 years of Visionaire, and will be the last issue documented in a coffee table book to be released by Rizzoli in September. “And I just thought it was such a great way to close that chapter with a free issue — kind of the opposite of how we’re perceived, because we’re limited and numbered and expensive and hard to come by,” Dean says. “To do the exact opposite is always thrilling for us. Just shake it up a little bit.”

Dean highlights Grande’s contribution, which is a poster collaboration with MAC Cosmetics (Grande is the face of MAC’s Viva Glam Lipstick line, which gives its proceeds to the MAC AIDS FUND). “They’re lip prints,” Dean says. “She sent us a bunch of kisses, and we made it into a poster. It’s super cute.”

The relationship with CAA began when Dean and agent Thao Nguyen, who handles many of the agency’s arts and culture clients, met and hit it off immediately. “She totally understands us, and she gets us, because she understands art, and she’s in that world, and she understands artists,” Dean says.

Their affiliation only begins here, Nguyen tells THR. “They’ve been my client for over two years,” says Nguyen. “They can do anything. We work with them in all areas: brands, films and TV. We’re in the process of developing two TV shows, a film — I can’t go into specifics about it, but we’re working in all areas with them.”

Nguyen predicts that many CAA clients — including Oscar nominees Saoirse Ronan and Michael Fassbender — will have a chance to check out Visionaire. “A lot of clients are coming into town, and coming into the office,” Nguyen says. “There are so many creatives in town next week, so it’s a great way to engage all the various different creative communities. They’ll all come to the office for meetings, and they’ll all get to experience this installation.”

Without getting political, Nguyen does point out the issue’s diverse nature in light of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. “It’s all about celebrating this creative convergence, but also the creative diversity in the city,” she says. “Obviously, Kahlil Joseph, Hank Willis Thomas, and Ariana Grande — that goes to show what great curators Visionaire are.”

The issue launches with a private event on Sunday, Feb. 21, hosted by Dean, Kaliardos, Nguyen and CAA’s Beth Swofford, Bryan Lourd, Alex Mebed and Jamil Shamasdin.