Eyeing a portion of the proceeds, museums welcome new experiments in retail

By Susan DeMaggio

In an effort to en (rich) museum-going experiences, something new is popping up. Pop-up shops are being added to exhibitions, pairing show themes with related products to give visitors more to peruse and to provide museums and merchants with profit-sharing perks. Note: These are not your average gift shops.

It’s a win-win for all concerned, according to Erica Ashley Hecht of E.A. Vintage who produced a pop-up shop for the San Diego Museum of Art’s Culture & Cocktails soiree on July 21 in connection with “From El Greco to Dali: Spanish Masters from the Perez Simon Collection.”

“The museum contacted me for this event and I was happy to bring my stuff over and participate,” she said. “It’s a perfect match. My vintage jewelry, clothing and accessories appeal to artistic types, and the art museum gets 10-percent of the evening’s sales.”

At the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s downtown location, a pop-up shop will open as a six-month retail experiment at the museum’s TNT (Thursday Night Thing) event from 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 4 on Kettner Blvd. between Broadway and B Street.

Called, Product Porch, the shop is a collaboration between MCASD and design retailers (and former La Jolla High School grads) Brooks Hudson Thomas and Blaire Dessent. The duo will offer furniture and accessories made by “a new generation of creative talents from all over the world,” according to Dessent, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the museum.

Thomas, an artist, operates Specific Merchandise in Los Angeles, which sells artist-made furniture and décor items. Paris-based Dessent, an art historian, runs the online boutique,

, which sells items by designers from both sides of the Atlantic. Product Porch is their first partnership.

TNT will also feature cocktails, art-making activities, artist talks, and entertainment by Republic of Letters at 8:15 p.m., and the Nervous Wreckords at 9:15 p.m. TNT will be the first chance to view the work of contemporary artists Larry Bell, Mary Corse, and James Turrell, leading up to the opening of “Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface” on Sept. 25. TNT is free to members; $8 to students; $10 general admission.

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