Global apparel retailer UNIQLO is no stranger to contemporary art, plastering the works of modern greats such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Yayoi Kusama on t-shirts, and making art wearable, and accessible to all. But one pop artist that has been conspicuously missing from their line-up is American artist Jeff Koons, best known for his massive, metallic sculptures of balloon animals that leave some in awe, and controversially, others questioning their value and what exactly counts as good art.
But make no mistake – Koons’ work is internationally recognised, and whether you love him or loathe him, a t-shirt with a Koons reference is sure to be a statement. And from 4th October, you too can own a piece of Koons, as UNIQLO announces its first UT (UNIQLO T-shirt) collaboration collection with Koons.
Commenting on the collaboration, Jeff Koons says: “I enjoy very much how UNIQLO is in contact with my generation but also a younger generation. Everybody enjoys, very much, their clothing and I love that sense of unity. I hope that this collaboration will help people around the world to connect with each other and that art will enrich their daily lives.”
The new collection will focus on five of his iconic sculptures, all of which celebrate the themes of self-acceptance, empowerment, and transcendence, available as either a t-shirt and/or a hoodie. The eight items that comprise this collection will also be sold at the Qatar Museums IN-Q gift shop during the solo exhibition Jeff Koons: Lost in America, presented by Qatar Museums, which opens in Doha this November.
Rabbit was a 1986 series of three identical stainless steel sculptures, one of which became the most expensive work sold by a living artist at an (at $91.1 million in May 2019).
Gazing Ball (Standing Woman), from his Gazing Ball series at Art Basel 2014, displays a shiny, blue hand-blown glass orbs in front of a Greco-Roman statue.
Balloon Dog (Orange), represents his Balloon Dog series supposedly based around how “art happens inside the viewer” with their reflective surfaces triggering an emotional response and realisation of your sense of your own potential as a person.
The audacious Seated Ballerina originally subverted the typical miniature porcelain figure and presents it as a monstrous 45-foot-high inflatable nylon sculpture at Rockefeller Plaza
Play-Doh debuted at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2014, and is a massive, multicoloured mass of Play-Doh (actually made of polychromed aluminium), that evokes childhood memories of creativity.
“At UNIQLO, our support and collaboration with artists is our key wish to improve all people’s lives. Jeff Koons represents the positive power of art and its ability to transform who we are and the world around us. Jeff Koons is a source of imagination and commitment and we are extremely proud of our partnership,” says John C. Jay, President of Global Creative at UNIQLO.
The Jeff Koons UT Collection will be available across Singapore UNIQLO stores from 4th October 2021. For the catalogue of designs and merchandise, visit the website here