It's no secret that Uniqlo is one of my favorite fast retailers to date. The store is a gallery of some of the best t-shirts you can find in the city at a price that is hard to pass up. Of course, just cause it's a gallery, doesn't make it art?
To celebrate their UT Project, in which the released way too many t-shirts for the shopping public, Uniqlo is unveiling The UT Gallery: a one-off exhibition space filled with portraits showcasing the collection.
According to Vogue, the exhibition features some 200 works, which were shot by photographer Matt Irwin. Along with stylist Nicola Formichetti, he embarked on a grass-roots search for starring talent, spotting his subjects in places as diverse as the streets of London and New York to MySpace. The images show up-and-coming artists, models and designers wearing some of the 700 UT Project Ts, including those by Eighties artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
So the question still remains, is this really art or just a marketing ploy to sell more t-shirts? Where are the limits of commerce and art and if this is art, what is it's message? Personally, I don't see the enjoyment of having photos of hipster types in t-shirts on my wall, do you?
The UT Gallery opens in London at Unit 4 & 5, The Old Truman Brewery, Dray Walk, London E1; call 020 8247 9200 for further information. (April 30 2008, AM)