LOS ANGELES — Gap is hoping for a boost of the artistic kind.
On May 13, the retailer will roll out its latest collaborative effort, Artist Editions T-Shirts, a limited edition collection of cotton Ts designed by contemporary artists Chuck Close, Jeff Koons, Marilyn Minter, Kiki Smith, Cai Guo-Qiang, Barbara Kruger, Ashley Bickerton, Kenny Scharf, Glenn Ligon, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Kerry James Marshall, Hanna Liden and Sarah Sze.
Gap partnered with the Whitney Museum of American Art and the nonprofit Art Production Fund to create the collection with the 13 past Whitney Biennial participants. The San Francisco-based chain is a sponsor of the 2008 Whitney Biennial, and had previously sponsored the Annie Leibovitz retrospective at the Legion of Honor Museum in New York.
The shirts come in two styles, a women's open-neck T-shirt and a men's crewneck, retailing from $28 to $38. A number similar to the amount of Design Edition CFDA shirts will be available in Gap's top U.S., Canada and U.K. stores, as well as on gap.com. In keeping with the art theme, the shirts also will be available at the Whitney Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and at Paris' Colette boutique.
"This continues to reinforce our desire to be culturally relevant," said Marka Hansen, Gap Brand North America president, adding that it has been a long-held desire of Gap founders Don and Doris Fisher to collaborate with artists on T-shirts. The Fishers, avid contemporary art collectors, own works by several of the artists featured.
Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin shot the ad campaign, which features 11 of the artists wearing the T-shirts they designed, as well as Stephanie Seymour in the T-shirt designed by Koons, and Shalom Harlow in the T-shirt designed by Kruger. The campaign will run in the June issues of Vanity Fair, Vogue, The New Yorker and W, as well as in newspapers and outdoor venues in select markets.
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