MoMA Licenses Warhol, Pollock, and Basquiat for Uniqlo’s Newest Fashion Line

Uniqlo's new SPRZ NY collection on display at its flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York. The line was designed in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Uniqlo, the popular Japanese clothing brand, is turning to the contemporary art world for SPRZ NY, a new collection of merchandise that draws on the Museum of Modern Art‘s holdings of work of artists such as Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, reports Forbes.

As the art world becomes ever more entwined with broader popular culture, a growing number of brands and businesses are crossing over into contemporary art. Home furnishing chain Restoration Hardware, for example, launched its own gallery, RH Contemporary Art, in November (see report from Art in America), and e-retailer giant Amazon has teamed up with galleries to offer fine art at Amazon Art.

Now, Uniqlo has entered the fray with a collaboration with MoMA—perhaps providing more fuel for Jerry Saltz‘s claim that the institution is becoming “a business-driven carnival.” SPRZ NY, short for “Surprise New York,” includes 200 items ranging in price from $4.90–$49.90. Shirts, bandanas and tote bags will sport designs drawn from graffiti, street photography, and graphic design.

Says Forbes:

With this art-meets-fashion line, Uniqlo is not only looking to change the way America shops by selling affordably priced, performance-enhanced clothing with features such as its exclusive heat-retaining Heattech technology. It also seeks to strip art of its high-brow connotations and make it a part of the national conversation in a commercial setting.

In the chain’s Fifth Avenue flagship in New York, the newly launched fashion line can be found in lit glass cases, with museum-like display labels. Other stores will opt for more traditional retail displays, but will still include artists’ bios, blurring the line between works of art and retail goods.

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