With galleries, museums and public art spaces closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, from across the globe, artist and non-artists have responded to MUMA’s call out to put art front and centre on limited edition Art You Can Wear T-shirts.
“Art You Can Wear came out of our desire to connect with people across the world through a public art project that is located on the site we take with us everywhere – our bodies!” says Charlotte Day, MUMA Director. “We are thrilled with the community response and hope the project will be extended again through people sharing with us selfies wearing their favourite T-shirt design.”
The ten winning submissions include artworks by Debris Facility (Aus), Kelly Doley (Aus), Alicia Frankovich (NZ), Igor Grubic (CRO), Jess Johnson (NZ/USA), Archie Moore (Aus), Tom O’Hern (Aus), Sarah Rodigari (Aus), Phil Sidney (Studio A) and Garry Trinh (Aus). Read more about the Artists below!
Their designs were chosen from hundreds of entries by a panel including MUMA’s Director Charlotte Day, City of Melbourne’s Design Director Jocelyn Chiew, artist Dr Christian Thompson and Artist/Director Monash Art Projects Professor Callum Morton.
Entries were received from far and wide by artists, designers, students, teachers, kids, poets and those generally inspired to express themselves. Many responded to the conditions of the current pandemic, some used the opportunity to draw our attention to the environment, and others came from artists’ who had always wanted to design a T-shirt.
Some schools used the Art You Can Wear brief as an activity for students and many people took the opportunity to express themselves poetically and politically through text and visual language.
Printed locally on Fair Wear accredited 100% organic cotton, a donation from each T-shirt sold will be made to NAVA’s Artists’ Benevolent Fund. To purchase a limited edition T-shirt, visit: www.shop.monash.edu For more information about Art You Can Wear, visit: www.monash.edu for details.
Image: Debris Facility, Archie Moore and Phil Sidney’s T-shirt designs – courtesy of the Artists and MUMA
Art You Can Wear Artists:
Debris Facility is a Melbourne-based, queer body corporate. An artistic/corporate entity whose activities often parody and parasite processes of neoliberal identity construction and industrial commodification, they produce wearable works, installations and performances that respond to specific contexts. Based on a ‘logo sample sheet’, the Facility’s T-shirt design is a manic proliferation of design tropes and a critical deployment of corporate branding. Logotypes can be thought of as blueprints for the construction of identity; worn on and beyond human bodies, they represent a distributed performance of labour.
Kelly Doley is an artist based on Gadigal land, Sydney, with an interest in working with text, signwriting and slogans that stems from her father’s occupation as a commercial set painter. Designed using handmade letters, her T-shirt adopts a phrase by Australian cyberfeminist artist, Linda Dement, and reflects on the function of slogans in times of social change. Describing her concept, Doley writes: ‘I was thinking about the “It’s Time” slogan used in the Gough Whitlam ALP election campaign in 1972. The slogan was seen to capture the mood for social and political change in Australia at the time. With that time now passed, the urgency of Dement’s “future now” could be a more fitting slogan for the current moment.’ Doley is also a founding member of the artist collective Barbara Cleveland and Deputy Director, UNSW Galleries, Sydney.
Alicia Frankovich is a New Zealand artist based in Melbourne whose practice ranges from sculptural installation, performance and large-scale choreographies to durational, live exhibition experiences involving human and more-than-human actors. The graphic depicted on Frankovich’s T-shirt is an individual chromosome from her (female) karyotype: genetic data that was originally imaged at the specialist Victorian Clinical Genetics Services lab in Melbourne and which has been transformed by the artist through her design. This artwork draws on a larger series or works that Frankovich has titled Microchimerism (2018–19), a word referring to the existence of foreign DNA in bodies due to pregnancy, blood transfusion and other means. Microchimerism questions our understanding of the individual as a fixed and autonomous subject.
Igor Grubic is a Croatian artist based in Zagreb whose multimedia practice spans photography, video, site-specific actions in public space and documentary forms. Often producing his works over periods of many years, Grubic is a keen observer of social and political change and has documented transitions in Croatian society and industry, among many other subjects. The artist’s T-shirt adopts Mickey Mouse as an icon of industrial entertainment to speculate on spiritual evolution. Seated in lotus position, Grubic’s transformed Mickey was originally part of a triptych that the artist produced as a graffiti work, posing the idea that work towards the common good begins on an individual level.
Jess Johnson is a New Zealand artist based in New York. The concept of world-building lies at the centre of Johnson’s work, which reflects her interests in science fiction, language, technology and theories of consciousness. Her drawing practice feeds into installations and collaborations in animation, music, fashion, Virtual Reality and textile art. Text is integral to Johnson’s drawing process. The central role of hand-made typography in her drawings stems from her background in poster and flyer design and often provides a scaffolding from which she builds the rest of her compositions. This text-based design combines the titles of a triptych Johnson made for the Walter’s Prize exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery in 2018. It utilises a hand-drawn alphabet and the broader visual cosmology she has been developing for several years.
Archie Moore is a Kamilaroi artist based in Brisbane who works across different media to portray self and national histories. According to the artist: ‘Paying your respects to traditional owners of these lands most times seems a token gesture that doesn’t do anything to advance any movement towards mutual respect or reconciliation. How is this respect paid? Is it just a veiled disclaimer or a loophole? In any case, you have nothing to lose and I have nothing to gain with these words.’
Tom O’Hern is an artist based in the Moonah, lutruwita/Tasmania. He makes thousands of drawings that all conglomerate into one large, unending artwork. His work acts as a diary and he thinks a lot about the End-Permian Mass Extinction. The drawing for his Art You Can Wear T-shirt is pulled from his daily Instagram drawing diary/addiction, dated at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this early stage, he was building as many veggie beds as he could and wondering how Mad Max it was all going to get.
Sarah Rodigari is an artist based in Sydney and a member of the collective Field Theory. Interested in the social and political potential of art, her text-based performances and installations often emerge from walking conversations, and process situations using observation, dialogue and humour. Rodigari’s T-shirt is a love-filled portrait of migrant Australia and growing up in the 1980s and 1990s. For the artist, Effie is not only the stereotypical Greek Australian TV character parodied in the series Acropolis Now (1989–92) – representing a minority population that ‘talks back to white Australia’ – but the name of her mother, ‘a Yugoslav migrant. Left school at 9, still working at 74.’ Effie is memorialised here in the style of Esprit, the ‘mid-market, go-to store for a “young new Australia” in the ’80s and ’90s. The spirit of “normal”.’ Rodigari’s design is described by the artist as ‘2nd gen migrant streetwear, post-Eastern European malapropism.’
Phil Sidney is an artist who works with painting, drawing and diorama and is inspired by medieval folklore. Wild animals and ‘wildness’ are recurring themes in his practice, which he views as lonely outcasts – as quiet, misunderstood heroes. Night Owl, his design for Art You Can Wear, was originally designed to adorn a shield to imbue it with its symbolic power. ‘The Snowy Owl lives in the darkness connected to the moon,’ says Phil. ‘It is surrounded by magic and mystery. It is well known for its wisdom and stealth.’ Phil works out of Studio A, a Sydney based social enterprise that supports professional artists living with intellectual disability.
Garry Trinh is a Sydney designer and artist working in photography, video, painting and works on paper. He makes art about the uncanny, unexpected and spontaneous moments in daily life. Garry’s works offer a way of looking at the world to reveal the magic in the mundane. His Art You Can Wear T-shirt design is inspired by heavy metal rock’n’roll tour T-shirts of the 1990s and the current surreal crisis we find ourselves in due to COVID-19.