As of today GAP is offering a new line of artist-designed t-shirts, in honor of this year’s Whitney Biennial show. The hook is, all of the famous artists who designed these t-shirts were at one time Biennial artists themselves. Hear that, 2008 Biennial artists? Some day, if you really make it, you might get to design a t-shirt for GAP. (Also, I have just about had it with The Gap wanting us to call it GAP. Why so special, The Gap?)

Because I strictly adhere to all of the expectations placed on my demographic, I first learned of this The Gap (icy burn!) promotion via the back cover of this week’s New Yorker Magazine. (The New Yorker? What is it with everyone?) The issue’s back cover was devoted to a full-page ad featuring Chuck Close, the Professor Xavier of New York’s art world, wearing a self-designed The Gap t-shirt. I am a big fan of both Chuck Close and cotton, so I decided right away I was gonna buy that joint. And while I was at it, I bought the Barbara Kruger design, too, because she GETS IT. I did not purchase the Kenny Scharf-designed t-shirt but I do appreciate that he’s using this The Gap partnership to help raise awareness for growing epidemic of cowboys with AIDS:

It’s rare that The Gap does anything I’d consider interesting or cool–they are the only store I can think of that would sell Relaxed Fit Skinny Jeans–but I was genuinely impressed with this particular partnership. They’re promoting the arts, and promoting good design. (Not you, Scharf.) It would just be a little cooler if they actually knew a bit more about art or the artists, as evidenced in their description of this pretty famous Chuck Close painting:

Here’s how they describe the painting:

Hey, guess what, The Gap? That is actually a portrait of Philip Glass, someone Close has painted more than twenty times in the last forty years. That is probably why all of those paintings are titled, “Phil,” instead of “self-portrait” or “Chuck” or “Me” or “What Has Two Thumbs And Loves Large-Scale Polaroids, Grids, And Philip Glass? THIS GUY.” Oh, The Gap, I hope you have insurance because I just burned your website to the ground.*

*Says the person who is so pretentious he sees no problem busting The Gap’s online copywriter on the depth of his knowledge of modern art history.

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