SFMOMA x Gap: Artists' T-Shirts

SFMOMA x Gap: Artists' T-Shirts

As part of their 75th anniversary celebration, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has partnered with local retail giant Gap on eight limited-edition artist t-shirts. The battery of art stars includes Ed Ruscha, the late photographer Larry Sultan, Barry McGee, Leslie Shows and others.
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I'm personally a fan of the Sultan shirt, which sports an image that Dwell associate photo editor Alexis Tjian tells me is from the seminal book Evidence that he produced with photographer Mike Mandel in 1977. In it, the pair culled through archives of scientific, police, and technological photos, each initially shot as a kind of documentation of a crime, experiment, etc. and chose a few dozen photos which, despite being "evidence" as such, are shot through with ambiguity, mystery and intrigue.

"It was one of the first fine-art books to really use found photography," Tjian told me just now. "It's an early conceptual photo book, and very hard to find." Unless you wear one of its images across your torso, that is.

This picture comes from Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel's book of photos from 1977, Evidence.

This shirt, which appears to show an unraveling ball of rubber bands is by artist Rosana Castrillo Díaz.

This one shows one of Ed Ruscha's playful, word-based works.

This shirt shows off one of Barry McGee's winsome, if cock-eyed, drawings.

British artist Simon Evans chips in a piece for the celebration. Unsurprising as the man has lived in San Francisco for the last 15 years.

Leslie Shows is another of the young artists included in the series of t-shirts, this one an undulating, oozing image that seems to owe a debt to San Francisco's strong psychedelic tradition.

There are eight shirts in all, and at $25 are certainly a bargain. Here are three by McGee, Snows and Johanson.

Chris Johanson's addition to the collection of eight shirts most explicitly references the museum's birthday.

Kerry James Marshall's shirt offers the broadest swath of color, as well as a declaration that "This is Modern."


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