Last Friday, Rihanna hosted a glitzy party at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where champagne flowed and canapés were bountiful. The event celebrated the release of one of the singer and designer’s latest projects: a 500-page “visual autobiography” featuring more than 1,000 images from throughout her career.
The book, which will be published by Phaidon on October 24, includes photos from Rihanna’s childhood in Barbados as well as shots of her life as an artist and fashion icon, many of which have never been seen before. In addition to a mass-market printing, the publication will be available in three different limited-edition forms (and three very different price points), with bookstands designed by the Haas Brothers, the Los Angeles–based duo known for their whimsical, sometimes bizarre designs.
The Fenty x Phaidon version is now available for purchase for $175; an oversize Luxury Supreme edition costs $5,500, and will be shipped beginning November 20, and the Ultra Luxury Supreme (“Stoner” pedestal) set, which comes with a 2,000-pound hand-carved stone pedestal, has already sold out, according to Marianne Boesky Gallery. Made in an edition of only 10 plus two artist’s proofs, it was priced at $75,000 each.
The collaboration between the singer and the Haas Brothers came about after a discussion between Phaidon and the New York and Aspen dealer Marianne Boesky, who represents Niki and Simon Haas. (They have a show at her Chelsea branch now.) The artists jumped on the opportunity to work with Rihanna, who subsequently visited their studio, and “we made some rad stuff together,” Niki told ARTnews in an interview.
The Haas Brothers have been fans of Rihanna’s music for years, and Simon called their work with her “truly a dream come true.” (Niki’s favorite song is “Consideration” and Simon listens to “Watch n’ Learn,” “What’s My Name?,” “Man Down,” and “No Love Allowed” most often.)
“Her use of her platform to inspire independence in other people is admirable, wise, and powerful,” Niki said. “I have so much respect for everything she represents.”
The metal bookstand for the Fenty x Phaidon edition is based on Rihanna’s hands, and the Luxury Supreme cast-resin bookstand, titled Drippy + The Brain, was inspired by past Haas Brothers works that the singer particularly liked.
“Her hands are so iconic to me,” Simon said of the Fenty x Phaidon bookstand. “Her tattoos are very personal to her and we loved the idea of the stand being her offering the book up to the reader.”
At 66 pounds, Drippy + The Brain, which is plated in an 18-karat-gold color with mirror-finish, is an art piece in its own right.
“We wanted [the Luxury Supreme bookstand] to feel more luxurious and perhaps carry more of the aesthetic of couture,” Niki said. “It is our art supporting a legend in photos, in an abstract and physical sense. We are giving our art to support something that feels bigger than us—that is the movement that Rihanna has created.”