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Editor's Notes: What do nearly all famous contemporary artists have in common? They've collaborated with UNIQLO UT.
Next up in UNIQLO's long line of art world team-ups is Jeff Koons of Balloon Dog fame. The Japanese retailer is printing up T-shirts and hoodies with the artist's most famous sculptures, including the aforementioned blow-up canine, Rabbit, and Seated Ballerina.
"I enjoy very much how UNIQLO is in contact with my generation but also a younger generation," Koons said. "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 artist added rather vaguely.
It was only a matter of time before UNIQLO collaborated with Koons.
We've seen the brand license work from the estates of Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol, among others. Koons — another American art icon with immense commercial appeal — was bound to work with UNIQLO eventually.
Though UNIQLO selected Koons's least exciting work for the collection, I can't exactly blame them for veering away from the artist's riskier oeuvre. Jeff and Ilona (Made in Heaven), Kiss With Diamonds, and Woman in Tub wouldn't exactly work for family-friendly brand like UNIQLO (although Yorkshire Terriers would've been an appropriate and delightful pick).
Sure, critics can argue that mass-market collaborations dilute an artist's "message" — whatever that means these days — but Koons's UNIQLO UT partnership only strengthens his cause.
A creator who always embraces the mainstream, the commercial, and the banal, Koons definitely doesn't care about your critique — in case you forgot, he willingly collaborated with H&M nearly a decade ago.