While last season didn’t end—or frankly, start—happily for billionaire hedge-funder Steve Cohen and the New York Mets, the baseball team he bought in 2020 for $2.4 billion, it’s almost spring again in Queens. This year, Cohen appears to be betting that he can draw fans back to the ballpark with an aggressive series of giveaways for fans, 19 in total.
The most exciting, and unusual, are two “artist series” giveaways on May 25 and July 13 for a beach tote by painter and former art dealer Joel Mesler and a bucket hat by conceptual artist Rashid Johnson, respectively.
Typically, giveaways go out to the first 15,000 fans in attendance, so if you want one, better get to the game early.
It’s not the first dip into merchandising for Mesler, who partnered with Hong Kong brand izzue in 2021 for a capsule collection of four printed t-shirts, 2 bucket hats, and a tote bat that featured Mesler’s bright colorful images. Last year, he collaborated with artist and designer Carlton DeWoody to produce a limited-edition t-shirt to celebrate Cultured magazine’s Hamptons issue. Mesler has also designed a plate for the Artist Plate Project, where artists design limited-edition plates sold for $250 a pop that “provide food, crisis services, housing, and other critical aid to thousands of people experiencing homelessness and housing instability.”
Johnson too has had his hand in many such collaboration. In addition to deisgning a plate for the Artist Plate Project, Johnson worked with Stella McCartney in early 2021 to produce a limited edition t-shirt based on a work-on-paper using a color he developed called “Anxious Red.” Prior to that, he collaborated with Liz Swig of LizWorks to produce a limited edition line of jewelry, including gold and titanium cuffs, signet rings, ring bands, and necklaces, all based on his Anxious Men series. He has also sold a t-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, and a hat, based on the series, which are still available via Hauser & Wirth.
Cohen and his wife Alexandra are, of course, ARTnews Top 200 collectors with a collection spanning world-class works by Willem de Kooning, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, and Jackson Pollock. It’s probably a safe bet there are a few Johnson and Mesler works in there too.