One of the most coveted skate brands in the world is suing an artist to protect their name, their logo, and their aesthetic. After years of not talking about it, the artist who inspired so much of their aesthetic finally has something to say.
The elite streetwear and skateboarding brand powerhouse of James Jebbia and company—Supreme—has a substantial history of officially co-opting the work of more than a few famous artists. For example, take their collaborative output with Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, or George Condo, whose Supreme skateboard decks now go for $3,500 on eBay.
And then, there's the not-so-collaborative work. For example: Supreme recently filed a lawsuit against one Leah McSweeney and her Married to the Mob brand for using the words 'Supreme Bitch' in shirts, in the style of the Supreme logo. McSweeney managed to get the civil rights attorney and legal heavyweight Norman Siegel to take on her case.
And in the response to Supreme, he argued that McSweeney had been putting out Supreme Bitch shirts since 2004, when she was 22. Nine years later, Jebbia and Supreme have attempted to sue her for millions of dollars, arguing copyright infringement against the brand. A brand that, by the way, has definitely incorporated other people and other companies' design elements itself.
One of those people? American conceptual artist Barbara Kruger, whose work explicitly inspired not just Supreme's ubiquitous red-and-white logo (see above), but so many other brands like it, and legions of other fairly famous artists as well. But in the past, Kruger—who now teaches at UCLA—has been pretty quiet on the connections, deferring questions about the commercial entrepreneurs who've culled from and profited off of the template she inarguably set. But we thought we'd give it a shot, and Complex reached out to Kruger anyway, asking her what she made of the lawsuit, as well as both McSweeney and Jebbia's positions, and the appropriation of her ideas and work at-large.
This afternoon, Kruger responded to us in the form of a blank email, with an attachment. We opened it, and this is what we found:
In related news, an old white woman just called all the downtown kids uncool, and for one of the only times in recorded human history, it actually stings.