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Designing The Novelty Shop From Hell

The irreverent British art duo Jake and Dinos Chapman open up shop in Amsterdam—and it's skulls, smileys, and obscenities galore.

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All novelty shops have a way of revealing the stranger side of human nature, but put one in the hands of British punk-artist duo Jake and Dinos Chapman and all hell breaks lose.

The artists have opened F*cking Hell Das Shop inside an abandoned massage parlor in Amsterdam's Red Light District. Skull-patterned toilet paper, graphic skateboards, a skull etched zippo lighter and a diorama titled "Endless Hopelessnesslessm"—modeled after their 2008 Hell, a tiny tableau full of Nazi atrocities—are among the characteristically grotesque offerings. The popup shop is a physical manifestation of the brothers' online shop launched in December, and it's part of a larger effort to provide a low-barrier entry to an often unaccessible art world.

To translate their unmistakable aesthetic to a physical space, the artists tapped UXUS, the Amsterdam-based branding specialists who have tackled everything from a health-focused chain hotel to a fancy Connecticut hunting lodge. The studio embraced the relics of the space's parlor days—loose planks, distressed walls, exposed pipes, and cables—repurposing nearly everything that was available. They used the wooden planks and tables as display cases, adding suspension chains and glass cases and painting everything white to spotlight the work. "We focused on showcasing the artwork in a more accessible 'retail way' where visitors are encouraged to really interact and explore the product like they do in a shop, versus a traditional art gallery experience," UXUS writes in an email. "Even if you have not purchased anything, you could just browse and enjoy the pieces."

As of this time, the popup shop doesn't have a concrete end date, but the space will live on as Project Space Pacific Place, a gallery and installation space run by a collective of contemporary artists, even after the shop closes. Those not in Amsterdam can still head over to the online shop, where you can purchase anything from a "New Weirdness" sculpture for £2.50 (around $3.50) to a "Bedtime Tales for Sleepless Nights X" print for £1,000.00 (around $1,400).

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