Paradise found: Artsy and Misha Kahn turn Sixty LES bar into living art
New York City’s Lower East Side hotel Sixty LES celebrated the start of Frieze in New York with the summer re-opening of its rooftop bar – the island-themed Tiki Tabu, featuring an immersive installation by Brooklyn artist Misha Kahn.
‘We immediately thought of Misha as an artist who would embrace the whimsical, retro tiki vibe, not change or fight with it,’ says Artsy curator Elena Soboleva.
Kahn dug into the tropical Americana aesthetic whole-heartedly, creating hand-painted wallpaper replete with fuzzy, crushed velvet peaches and painting resin floor tiles embedded with sand and glitter. ‘The bars I like going to are a little gritty and casual,’ says Kahn. ‘I didn’t want anything to feel too precious – people are meant to touch the walls and scuff up the floors.’
The warm, sunset-hued space is also outfitted with Kahn’s coil pot planters resembling hot dogs, colorful tentacular mirrors and primitive, totem pole-esque planters that the artist carved using a chainsaw. Oversize, hand-blown lava lamps were tucked into nooks and corners throughout. With their organic globular glass lamps and metal bases, the softly glowing sculptures are at once nostalgically familiar and space-age avant garde.
‘I love tiki bars, so this was a good opportunity to try out all these ideas I had,’ says Kahn.