It looks like Forever 21 is getting in on the collaboration game, which is generally a game I’m heavily in favor of (hello, Altuzarra for Target). They just unveiled their new summer collection featuring artwork by revolutionary artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring adorning crop tops, tank tops, body con dresses, and your usual Forever 21 fare.
In case you aren’t familiar with Basquiat or Haring, Teen Vogue has an adorably watered down bio for the two artists. It isn’t inaccurate so much as very incomplete:
If you don’t know who they are, a crash course: Basquiat and Haring are famous for shaking up the American art scene with bold, graphic, sometimes in-your-face and sometimes really fun works.
This handily leaves out that both Basquiat and Haring dealt with complex issues such as death, sexuality, drug culture, and racism, and both died at tragically young ages–Haring of AIDS-related complications and Basquiat of a heroin overdose. Oh well. We can’t have it all.
Being the pretentious arty betch who should be embarrassed to be alive that I am, it’s always a little bizarre to see counterculture artists’ work licensed out for big corporations like Forever 21, although it’s hardly the first time (Haring grappled with the balance between art as expression and as a commodity his whole career, and both his work and Basquiat’s has appeared on countless Urban Outfitters items, for example). In fact, I should probably just get used to it. The pieces are pretty cute, and I’m sure will absolutely delight Tumblr’s teen users. And hey, for all I know, the collection would delight Basquiat and Haring. Why not? It’s connecting their art to a new audience. What could go wrong?
Photos: Forever 21