Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Urban OutFitters

Urban OutFitters is a youth-oriented style store with a penchant for all things Retro especially the decade called the 1970’s. While browsing recently, I noticed some interesting things in the Home Department: “store-bought,” pre-stretched canvases with printed images, art off the shelf, decidedly Warhol-like; one being the 9-11 photo of the Brooklyn bridge with a US flag flying defiantly on top. As I looked closer, I noticed other small faux-naif works – all originals apparently – designed for the store. I forget the name of the artist/designer. These were identical to thousands of little gallery works I have seen that combine crude stylized drawing with a little needle-work thrown in. I’m not sure what this means. I know illustration and illustrative style is now equated completely with fine art and paintings made using a more dense sense of craft and tradition and I have no problem with that particularly or with art multiples selling in shops, thrift stores, bars or coffee houses. So, why do I get the feeling that we are selling ourselves short by removing all suggestions of caliber or intensity.

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