Playground's Art in a Box

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Photographer Zach Gold and stylist Julie Ragolia have launched a $600 limited-edition gallery-in-a-book of sorts called Playground —an unbound collection of art, illustration and fashion photography in a collectible box designed by Dror Benshetrit and sculpted by Brett Klisch. "We created Playground as a platform for the kind of work that made us fall in love with fashion and photography—work that we're seeing less and less of in mainstream publications," says Gold. "It's a place where artists can think more in the single-image format and focus on ideas that may be outside their normal body of work. It's also a place where established talent and virtual unknowns can co-exist and collaborate."

Some images from the book, which features the work of more than 30 artists, are seen here, leading with a fashion shot of Gold's. This image "comes from an interest in electron microscope photography," he explains. "I've always been interested in cellular structure and things coming apart. This is just a combination of different things, all in one shot, that interest me visually." The particularly arresting image by Yelena Yemchuk included here is a prime example of what Gold means by out-of-the-mainstream fashion imagery. "It's shot in the context of fashion but the subjects' tone and age is so rarely seen in a fashion context—older and more badass, in the Patti Smith tradition." If it all seems like a museum-worthy objet d'art, it is. Gold notes that Playground has been added to the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Not MoMA, which might seem more likely, but the Met, specifically its Costume Institute. Gold isn't quite sure at this point what if anything the Met is planning to do with it, but he certainly appreciates the fact that they "thought it was relevant," he says.

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