The Japanese retailer, Uniqlo, is spearheading a unique trend. Their three-story megastore on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue is adorned with an overpowering rainbow color scheme that appears suspiciously similar to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) down the street.
That happened by design. Uniqlo’s second floor is also devoted to its “SPRZ NY” project, a collaboration with MoMA that uses iconic contemporary art to enhance the retail experience.
This trend of art in retail and stores partnering with museums is predictable given how online shopping has caused the closure of stores across the country. Retailers are scrambling to revamp the in-person shopping experience. Retail’s marriage with art attempts to conjure serenity and creativity through the shopping experience, rather than a barrage of attention-catching images. It’s a welcome phenomenon that is far from new.
The rise of Pop Art in the 1960’s married famed artists with fashion lines. In 1974, Andy Warhol used Yves Saint Laurent as the subject of some of his classic Pop Art paintings. Even earlier, the Paris department store Bon Marché became the fashionable place to be in 1875 when it opened an art gallery, showing works by artists rejected from the Salons.
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