Basquiat and UT

Jean-Michel Basquiat,
a legendary artist whose life and work perennially garners attention.
UNIQLO continues its worldwide celebration of
this art world superstar through UT shirts featuring his art.

Photo: Tseng Kwong Chi Jean Michel Basquait in his Great Jones Street Studio, New York, 1987. Photo © Muna Tseng Dance Projects, Inc. Artwork: © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York

Jean-Michel Basquiat Artist

Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose career spanned the late 1970s through the 1980s, is one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. He died in 1988. Basquiat’s works are edgy and raw. Through a bold sense of colour and composition, he maintains a fine balance between seemingly contradictory forces such as control and spontaneity, menace and wit, and urban imagery and primitivism. Basquiat often incorporated words into his paintings. Before his career as a painter began, he produced punk-inspired postcards for sale on the street, and became known for political-poetical graffiti he made, along with Al Diaz, under the name of SAMO. The conjunction of various media is an integral element of Basquiat’s art. His paintings are typically covered with text and codes of all kinds: words, letters, numerals, pictograms, logos, map symbols, diagrams and more, and feature multi-panel paintings and individual canvases with exposed stretcher bars, the surface dense with various elements.

Basquiat x UT of the Past

1. 2013 Spring & Summer 2. 2009 Spring & Summer 3. 2008 Spring & Summer

1. An enlarged portion of the painting on the front is printed on the inside, utilizing both sides of the fabric for an intricate design. 2. Pieces of identical fabric are sewn onto the body and embellished with embroidery, exemplifying one of our more technical seasons. 3. An item featuring 3/4 raglan sleeves.

UT Continues its Appreciation of
the Legendary Work of Basquiat

UT has been showcasing the work of Basquiat for many years, but UNIQLO shirts featuring his art appeared as early as 2003, well before UT became a brand in 2007. The three T-Shirts pictured above come from the archives of our explorations of the work of Basquiat. An item from 2013 features printing on the inside of the shirt, while a V-Neck from 2009 incorporates intricate embroidery, in one of our more technical answers to the question of how T-Shirts can be used to showcase art. Meanwhile, the three items from this season on the right page employ simpler designs, focusing on wearability and the question of how to wear art in cool new ways. The cut of these UT shirts has been updated for a better fit. Starting this season, our men’s shirts will feature a more relaxed silhouette, while our women’s shirts employ a pattern that has roomy, longer sleeves and slightly lowered shoulders, as well as small slits on the sides.

Basquiat and UT, evolving with the times. How will you incorporate these masterworks into your style? On page 82, four Shanghai-based artists will offer their answers to this very question.

Basquiat x UT for 2020
Spring & Summer

For 2020 Spring & Summer, we're featuring selected works by Basquiat from Crossing Lines, an exhibition on view this spring at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia.
1. Ishtar, 1983. 2. Untitled (BAR, BAR, BAR), 1981. 3. Untitled (World Famous), 1983.

Photography by Tseng Kwong Chi, Yoshio Kato (products)
Text by Uniqlo

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