By Brandon Latham | Indiewire June 23, 2014 at 1:3PM
In what amounted to more of an excuse to create an outside the box fashion display, a TNT sponsored pop-up gallery championed work of several designers including their imaginative... gas masks? Yep, “Survival is an Art: The ‘Last Ship’ Experience” was a one day event in New York City to promote TNT’s Sunday night premiere of their new thriller, “The Last Ship,” as fancy gas masks took over a gallery in Chelsea for the day.
Coordinated in partnership with entertainment branding agency loyalkaspar, the exhibit was exactly as shallow and dull as you might expect -- but the art was very interesting, and the site was equipped with a bar just in case the visual stimulants weren't enough. But what was touted as a immersive experience that preyed on the public’s fascination with the end of the world amounted to meandering around a room of intricately dressed mannequins.
The immersion element was made up of a handful of masks for visitors to try on themselves, but that was poorly promoted and most people went in and back out without even noticing the rack of gas masks in the back. One girl seemed to be having a blast, but beyond that it put some onlookers to sleep.
As a gallery exhibit, it was a fine display. The high fashion that covered the mannequins literally from their heads to their toes displayed design prowess. Featured artists included German Irene Luft, known for her work at Fashion Week 2013, as well as several others. The range of masks was impressive, with some covered in jewels to one made from sneakers to some that coordinated with beautiful gowns. The creativity that must have been poured into the project in order to create so many unique and artful gas masks is honorable, but the whole event left me asking: This is supposed to be for a TV show?
“The Last Ship,” which made its series premiere Sunday night on TNT, asks what would happen if a Naval ship returned home and 80 percent of the population were killed off by a virus. This is where the gas masks come in, and that marketing motif carried itself across town to Grand Central Station. Here, in partnership with Purell, the show has taken over the subway terminal for the weekend, covering walls and even turnstiles with promotional material for the show.
“The virus spreads June 22,” read posters also adorned with hand sanitizer dispensers (the date was helpful because the release was tricky to find at the design gallery). Images of gas masks lined the walls of the terminals as they did the plastic heads of the exhibit, but this marketing takeover focused more on the virus itself. My favorite piece was the staircase painted 80 percent red, emblematic of the infected population from the show.
Produced by Michael Bay, “The Last Ship” airs Sunday nights at 9pm on TNT. The Grand Central takeover will last until the middle of July.