Graffiti artist Kidult is doing his best to make sure that no one forgets Jean Touitou’s recent racial controversy, and defacing the A.P.C. flagship store with a racial slur is a pretty effective way to do so.
The French brand, Atelier de Production et de Création, was introduced in 1987 by Touitou. The designer was supposed to collaborate with Timberland recently, but after announcing that the name of the collection would be called “Last Ni**as in Paris”, Timberland cancelled their plans without hesitation.
When hearing about the name, Timberland issued a statement saying, “Yesterday we became aware of the offensive remarks made by Jean Touitou during his A.P.C. Fall Menswear show in Paris. We have chosen to immediately terminate our involvement with the A.P.C. brand, including the footwear collaboration we had planned for this fall. Simply stated, this kind of language and approach is in complete contrast with our values. Timberland seeks to collaborate with designers and brands who are at the forefront of lifestyle trends; equally important, they must also share our values. We will not tolerate offensive language or racial slurs of any kind being associated with the Timberland brand.
Kidult decorated the ivory store in Paris providing bright, vibrant red street art; in addition to writing the racial store across the front of the store, the artist added his definition of the word to the side of the building which reads, “Latin adj. ‘niger’; Contemptuous, offensive, and racism for a black person.”
Touitou has publicly apologized for his comments in a statement from GQ saying, “When describing our brand’s latest collaboration, I spoke recklessly using terms that were both ignorant and offensive. I apologize and am deeply regretful for my poor choice of words, which are in no way a reflection of my personal views.”
Interestingly enough, this is not the first instance the artist has vandalized a major storefront. The artist’s work has graced other famous boutiques around the world, including Supreme in New York and Colette in Paris.
About a year ago, the British street artist struck Marc Jacob’s SoHo location, simply tagging the word “ART” across the store, which obviously has sparked a feud between the two.
In 2013, Kidult attacked a Marc Jacobs store in Paris, mocking the simple shirt the designer priced at $686. Jacobs responded quickly with humor tweeting, “Come by Paris Collection for the opening night installation of the new @therealkidult. We proudly support the arts. The same day, Jacobs revealed another T-shirt design, a plain white shirt with a picture of his newly defaced store, charging $686 for the unsigned version and $430 for the signed version.
Back to the situation at hand however, A.P.C. and designer Jean Touitou have yet to issue a statement regarding the damage. Both forms are freedom of expression, so who’s to label art as right and wrong?