Nike adidas (2015-2019)
Clothing items, design language, installation
Images courtesy the artist
Making and selling the first tee in October 2015, Shirt’s Nike adidas project has garnered millions of impressions on social media, interviews and widespread media support. In 2016, Nike sent Shirt a cease and desist claiming he had been making “counterfeit Nike product,” a claim the artist refutes. Exploring various approaches to the concept over a five-year period the works have taken multiple artistic forms. From wearable clothing items Nike adidas Shirt (2015), No Logos Tee (2016), Ode To adidas (2017), Duchamp Slides (2017) and Duct Tape (2017); to experimental performances and installation pieces World Peace Day (2016), Breaking Ground (2017) and Ice Cream Truck (2017); book and printmaking I’m Learning (2017) Zine (2017); and music video Flight Home (2018). The ladder depicts the artist painting a large Nike check and adidas trefoil logo on the side of a 30-foot box truck, before launching into a series of performances on top of the truck as it drove through NYC for the day. The release of the video accompanied the announcement that Shirt had signed a record deal with the rockstar Jack White to release a rap album Pure Beauty (2018) he made as part of his MFA degree. Officially licensing famous artworks by the late conceptual artist John Baldessari for the making of the vinyl packaging, a Nike and adidas logo were etched into side A and B of every vinyl record pressed. In 2019, in the group exhibition Of Color at Helmhaus Museum in Zurich, Shirt debuted a photograph of Nike adidas Shirt (2015) that he took at school the year before. Titling the framed print Impossible Is Nothing Just Do It (2019), while it directly references Nike’s Just Do It and adidas’ Impossible Is Nothing campaigns, also winks at Shirt’s own personal mantra and journey. Four years prior the artist thought up the idea for the tee in his bedroom, now it hung on a museum wall.
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