Jonas Wood, Keegan McHargue, and Others Spin Silk for Massif Central Scarf Line

A new line of wearable art from Massif Central officially launches today, featuring silk scarves in editions of 50 by the likes of Jonas Wood, Keegan McHargue, Ellen Berkenblit, Joshua Abelow, Ry Fyan, and Chris Lux. “There have been a few opportunities in the past to do projects within the realm of fashion, but I never fully committed to them because it wasn’t clear why my work belonged on this or that,” said McHargue, whose paintings and drawings depict an often flattened, surreal universe. “With this project I didn’t hesitate, because I’ve always wanted to make a silk scarf. It’s a perfect setting for an artwork, and I myself have been influenced deeply by the tradition of bold, popping prints, a la Hermes.”

McHargue’s scarf, based on a previously untitled oil painting from 2013, is framed by two abstract columns of color. Josh Abelow’s “Self-Portrait” scarf exploits a muddier spectrum — its ideal wearer will have to be a bit more adventurous to pull this one off — while Ellen Birkenblit’s “Flowers” provides a jolt of color and half of a face.

“I have personally made a few scarfs with work on it with my wife, but never for mass consumption,” said Jonas Wood. “I think people will treat these mostly like scarfs, and less like art.” That would remain to be seen, since Woods’s “Black Still Life” is the only one of the bunch currently sold out. At $200 each, they’re a steal for an artist who recently had a 2011 painting at Phillips estimated between $30,000 and $40,000.

Massif Central will be releasing a fall/winter line later this year, with an additional 6 artists producing limited-edition scarves. “People working in the visual arts should be encouraged to take their practice into other creative realms, whether it’s fashion, furniture, or urban planning,” said company founder Tessa Perutz. “Artists should be designing our collective landscape more — as a way of refreshing and rejuvenating our everyday lives.” While she admits that the scarves would work well framed and hung as textile-based artworks in their own right, she encourages a more active approach. “They’re made from very high-quality silk, and they’re really designed to be worn on the body, shown publicly, moved by the wind, and experienced by touch,” Perutz said.

— Scott Indrisek (@indrisek)

(Photo: Jonas Wood scarf (top) and Keegan McHargue scarf (bottom); Courtesy massif central )