Sandro Botticelli, Shunga, and Supreme : Good Art on Big Brands

if you go by the name-three-songs-if-you-buy-the-band-shirt rule, read this.

Louis Vuitton x Jeff Koons 

Louis Vuitton collabed with artist Jeff Koons in a collection called Masters, in which he highlighted artists of the cannon. The likes of DaVinci’s Mona Lisa, Van Gogh’s Wheat Field, and Monet’s Waterlilies made the cut.

Koons is a contemporary artist, often exploring popular culture through using or recreating everyday objects. His famous Ballon Dog sold for a record breaking $58.4 million. For an artist so interested in commercialism, it makes a weird kind of sense that he’d collaborate with Louis Vuitton, a brand renowned for its pricey, at times tacky, but essentially iconic style.

With the cheapest item being a Koons-bunny shaped bag charm, that doesn’t even feature the painting, at £370, and bags £2,000 upwards, perhaps Koons is, again, showing us how the label of ‘art’ can make us part with our pocket. The value of art and its role in capitalism are deep-set themes in Koons’ work, so why would his collection be any different?



Fucking Awesome Le Coer T-shirt

The printed t-shirt, available in red, white, yellow, and black, is from Botticelli’s Renaissance painting the Primavera made in 1482. The detail shows the rape of Chloris by the wind god Zephyr, as described in Ovid:

“Zephyr caught sight of me.. he pursued and i fled, but he was the stronger and had full right of rape. However he made amends for his violence by giving me the name of bride, and in my marriage bed I have naught to complain of. I enjoy perpetual spring.”

Fucking Awesome has a history of using dark and sexual imagery, such as the graphic of a young boy and priest entitled ‘In the Name of’, and illustrations of self harm. Botticelli’s depiction of sexual violence fits their ~gritty~ aesthetic ; that, or they weren’t thinking about it that much.Â









Supreme x sasquatchfabrix 

Sasquatchfabrix is a Japanese label that collabed with supreme in SS16, including their t-shirts which caused quite a stir. Business at the front, but the party really is at the back. On the front, is a typical Japanese-style wood block print illustration, but on the reverse it’s evident this is part of a Shunga, which is strain of traditional Japanese erotic art.

A lot of these shirts are reselling, as hundreds of 12 year old hypebeasts bought them not realising the phallis at the back and immediately feared Chad from the skatepark would call them gay, I’m assuming. It’s interesting that no one in the west protested to the appropriation of Japanese folk imagery with undertones of exoticism on the front, but the honest subtext was deemed unacceptable. It begs the question, what are we willing to buy into?





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