<body> Public Ad Campaign: September 2010
This blog is a resource for ad takeover artists and information about contemporary advertising issues in public space. If you have content you would like to share, please send us an email.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stella Artois, A Thing of Beauty

BLF is at it again. While I love a good ad bust, I prefer an ad takeover, in particular when the advertisement is in public space. This in no way diminishes my love for the BLF and their continued pressures on the outdoor advertising and billboard industry. Although my thoughts on the matter are that as a culture we are well aware of the manipulative aspects of the commercial advertising world. While we may question the motivations, tactics, we rarely question the mediums right to be in our shared public spaces. By critiquing public advertisements, the ad remains up, although criticized, it is still affective in delivering a brand recognition. As they say, "any press is good press", even when it is negative, and I think this notion applies to outdoor advertising as well. Any impression is a good impression, regardless of whether it is gained through an unaltered billboard or one which subtly critiques the desire machine. Anyways, just my thoughts. Whether you alter ads, take them down, or replace them, interacting with a media that has overwhelmed your public space without your permission is a good deed and one that should not go unnoticed.
We at the BLF have been assisting fatigued advertising copywriters to strengthen their corporate messages for over thirty years. Advertising is the language of our Culture, as BLF CEO Jack Napier noted almost as many years ago. And the primary use of language is to to communicate ideas. The most efficient and direct communication of an idea comes through the most elegant use of the least amount of words to communicate that idea. It’s quite clear from the image in this Stella Artois billboard ad what the message IS. The BLF merely wishes to assist this campaign by paring down the words in order to match that message most perfectly. - BLF Education Officer, R.O. Thornhill. [More Here]

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

OX For The Black River Festival

OX for the Blk River festival. God I love Ox's work, and yes those were ads before OX got there.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

NYC Subway To Offer MLB Playoffs Video Clips

This recent snipet from NPR speaks about the installation of video screens on the S line in Manhattan. (the line often used to test new ad formats) While ad creep and new forms of invasive public advertising are old news to me and many of our readers, there is an interesting moment around minute 2:36 where Erin Donovan gives us the monetary benefits of having our desires pulled in every direction as we try to navigate our way to work or play. With advertising, "we raise about 100 million dollars, we have an 11 billion dollar budget." This means revenue from outdoor advertising covers less than %1 of the MTA's operating budget. This means that ads on subway cars, on platforms, in stations, above the steps as you enter a station, on the sides of buses, inside buses, at bus shelters, and the other myriad forms taken by outdoor advertising throughout our public transportation network are not enough to even change the fare rate. Often it is argued that ad revenue is responsible for keeping our public infrastructure intact, something I would argue is problematic, but something Erin Donovan proves is not the case with the MTA.
In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is experimenting with new ways to raise revenue. The MTA has installed small, ten by ten-inch video screens in every car of the subway shuttle that runs between Times Square and Grand Central Terminal. The cable TV network, TBS, is paying to air its coverage of major league baseball playoff games. NPR's Margot Adler went for a ride and sent this report. (Listen Here)

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Urban Canvas fo No Longer Empty

Keith Schwietzer over at No Longer Empty offered me this construction shed at 55 Washington Street for the Watch This Space exhibition he was helping organize. This offer came the same day I was called and told I was a finalist for the Urban Canvas Design Competition. Naturally I thought it a good opportunity to provide an actual example of what my design will look like in real life. Please see below and if you would like to vote for my design, go to www.nyc.gov/html/urbancanvas

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Carroll Street Subway Entrance

Was out in Red Hook visiting an old friend and came upon this empty ad frame at the Carroll Street F-G station.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

David Ogilvy and Jordan Seiler: Adman and Agitator, Defenders of Public Space

It's Friday and I finished installing a mockup of my submission for the Urban Canvass Design Competition for the Dumbo art fest about 8 hours ago. This post from Dennis Hathaway is a little self congratulatory but I want to use it as an opportunity to talk about my appreciation. Over the last two days I was helped by Keith Schwietzer of No Longer Empty and two other volunteers I only know by first name, Dan and Alex. Their physical and moral support was unparalleled and I cannot thank them enough. I want to tell them both that this is the last weave install. While I love the design, it is time to move on in an attempt to prevent branding of PublicAdCampaign imagery.
The PublicAdCampaign project, while funded and run by myself, has relied heavily on the participation of other artists and citizens. I have not found a proper way to thank these individuals despite the importance of doing so. In particular, I want to talk about the participants in the NYSAT and TOSAT projects. I feel like I personally benefit from the projects more than the individual artists. While benefit is an odd word to use when talking about a public space activism project, it is something that has weighed heavy on my conscience.
I run these projects because I think they are important. I think they challenge the steadfast rules of public participation. I think they challenge people to consider themselves as active participants in the curation of their shared spaces. That said, there is no way that these projects would ever happen without the submissions, support, of all of the individuals who selflessly donate their work and time to the cause. These people are the true champions of civil disobedience whether they want to admit it or not.
Recently I read through the PaperGirl newspaper that was produced for PaperGirl 5. It spoke heavily about the act of gift giving as an important aspect of the project. It investigated what the benefits of gift exchange might be and how that might be worthwhile pursuing as an artistic and public project. I could not agree more with the conclusions they came to and I would like to use that idea to thank all of those who have contributed to the takeover projects.
While I have not come up with a way to champion the individual artists involved in the takeover projects beyond listing them on the website and thanking them individually, I would implore them to consider their work as a part of a symbolic gift exchange never seen before. Not only does their work act as a gift, enlivening public spaces worldwide, but their gift also functions as a tool for public protest, invigorating the profundity of their gift.
What do we expect from a gift given? truthfully we cannot expect anything, and in the words of PaperGirl, maybe a nod, or a wink of appreciation is the extent of our return. With the takeover projects, the individual artist gets no physical return on investment and this is what weighs heavy on me. I have not found a way to thank them appropriately. I hope and assume that return is not the motivation but still want to find a way to return the favor that is their donation and participation.
I guess what Im getting to here is that I want to continue to do these takeover projects in the future. I see an extended life for these projects and once ten deep, an appreciation for the publics concern for public space, both nationally and internationally. I see these projects expressing a global concern for how public space is being used. That said, to continue to do these projects I must rely on the countless brave and selfless individuals that donate their work without compensation or renumeration, again something I have not figured out how to provide appreciation for. In the end, the donation of work comes from an individual's belief in the ideals of the project. With that said, the donation of work also comes with, however little this may matter, my deepest appreciation for the individuals interest in promoting a healthy public space. I cannot thank them enough and I hope this small post, however trivial, expresses my deepest gratitude and helps motivate the continued participation from artists who might have more pressing concerns on their agenda.

The late David Ogilvy, who founded the Madison Avenue firm of Ogilvy & Mather that created such iconic campaigns as “The Man in the Hathaway Shirt,” is sometimes known as the father of modern advertising. So the fact that he also had a passionate hatred for outdoor advertising may come as something of a surprise. [More Here]

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Please Vote-Urban Canvas Design Competition

I was just selected as a finalist for the Urban Canvas Design Competition. The 4 winners are decided by vote and I need your help! Please cast your vote here. Your vote will help us to continue providing large scale public projects and critical investigations of how to best serve our collective interests in public space.

Untitled"While beneath the scaffold and mesh covering, architecture in New York City loses nuance to the rigid rectangular forms of construction. Through repeated woven patterns and perspective shifts the ordinary rectangle becomes an extraordinary tool with which to contemplate the surfaces of our city."

A little history...
A while back PublicAdCampaign ran a project called NYSAT. Organizing the efforts of nearly a hundred artists, activists, and citizens, we reclaimed nearly 20,000 square feet of illegal outdoor advertising space run by a company called National Promotions of America. They also happened to be the same company illegally Wildposting construction sheds all over New York City. The unauthorized civil disobedience was definitely noticed by the DOB, and although a positive connection was never fully acknowledged, action was taken against this company swiftly after the project. The result was the removal of many of the illegal street level billboards as well as the end of large scale Wildposting in NYC. It seemed in some way we had won.
This left many of the construction sheds around the city empty, a bare blue surface begging for public interaction. Not more than a few months after the Wildposting stopped I received an email from within the DOB telling me about the Urban Canvas Design competition. It seemed that the city had taken steps to insure that the bare blue walls would come alive in the future. In fact, all of the construction safety structures would come alive, insuring that Wildposting would not continue and public art would take its rightful place. For me personally it also proved that direct action projects like NYSAT can have a serious affect on the quality of our shared spaces.
With that said, out of the 8 finalists, 4 will be selected by the public. Each of these individuals will receive $7,500 as an award. While this is not an immense amount of money, to a grassroots project like PublicAdCampaign it is a huge boost to our funding (of which there is none). This award would help us in numerous ways but probably most fitting, it would help us bring a project similar to NYSAT to yet another city. And if NYSAT was in any way responsible, however slightly, for the Design Competitions creation, the awards use for yet another civil disobedience project seems only too fitting.
A little about the design...
While I walked around NY looking at construction shed after construction shed, trying to pull inspiration out of the myriad configurations they took, I noticed again how ubiquitous they are around our city. I racked my brain for colors and pattern, complexity and simplicity, trying to envision my thoughts translated onto these surfaces. Many designs came to mind and over and over again I asked myself if I liked the design, but also how its repetition throughout the city might affect my continued appreciation of it. I thought to myself could I look at that everyday and possibly at many different locations? Many of the designs did not stand up to this criteria and in the end more complex patterns, arrangements of color fell to the side in favor of the simple black and white woven pattern I have been working with for the past few years in my public work. The pattern would transform the rigid structure of the architecture beneath, but allow the viewer to let it go relatively unnoticed if desired.
While I have been known to try to change my imagery often in order to remained un-branded as an artist and therefor escape criticism that I use the streets and advertising venues as advertising for myself, the woven pattern has continued in my work for a reasonable amount of time now. I promise that I will change this soon. Even as I write this I am working on a show for the Vincent Michael gallery which I promise will begin a departure from this simple, albeit affective design element.
DOB announcement PDF.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mediacy At It Again With Digital Projection Shenanigans

I haven't posted on Mediacy for a while now. This is in part because Michael Gitter (The CEO) and I had a "falling out" after I generally couldn't put up with the bullshit, and in part because I honestly didn't see much of Mediacy's work around the city. There were only a few advertisements for their own services around neighborhoods I frequented and it seemed as if things had blown over after he courted Gaia. Little did I know that Mediacy is still alive and kicking with new and "improved" digs.
This is the store were I often buy cigarettes before heading to my studio. It is between 17th and 18th on 9th avenue. I frequent it enough I know the guys inside. Last Tuesday I was walking to the train only to run into the newest incarnation of the Mediacy Gatescape debacle adhered to their gate. Emanating from a small digital projector hooked up to a laptop haphazardly placed atop a crate, was a full 3D Armani Exchange advertising video not without its fair share of gratuitous sexual reference. All of this was running off of a small Honda generator noisily clanking away behind a rented U-haul truck not 20 feet from the projection. Brand ambassadors, paid for by Mediacy, were there to hook you into stopping, trying to win a free shirt and generally making you pay attention to the budget spectacle they had created. People passed mostly uninterested.

I spoke with the two ladies in the picture above as well as the projection operator while I video taped the whole scene for my records. I also asked many questions about the operation, who was in charge etc. Apparently mediacy as they handed me Mr. Gitter's card. I asked about permits, hours, pricing etc. but there was little knowledge to be gleaned from these young ladies other than the fact that I should try on some 3D glasses and try to win a free Armani Exchange T-shirt. I continued downtown to meet up with a friend and found myself on Bowery and Kenmare.
Sure enough there were other similar setups located on both sides of this corner, albeit more shoddily setup than the last. It almost seemed as if a sheet had been taped to a rolldown gate for some underfunded performance art piece, surely not a high profile media campaign. At this location I asked one employee about permits and he hesitated. The team was in fact projecting on a different rolldown gate than they had expected to because the club two doors down had asked them to move so they wouldn't hinder celebrity photo opportunities. The guy I spoke with seemed to suggest that they had permission from the landlord but beyond that im not sure what steps had been taken to insure a legal ad projection permit. In fact, the owner of the tobacco shop I spoke about earlier had no idea a projection had happened on his gate the night before when I asked him the next day. Truthfully I could care less about the legality of this advertising technique.
What bothers me is Mr. Gitter's initial explanation for the whole Gatescape concept and how his explanation's hollowness reflects other outdoor advertising industries explanations when trying to justify commercial media in public space. "The good outweighs the bad". "We are providing a service." When in fact the real motivation is extracting value from our public space with little thought of the consequences. Throughout Michael and my arguments/discussions on the Gatescape concept and what it would potentially do to our city visually, Mr. Gitter continued to profess that his concept would rid the city of unwanted graffiti and help to make more coherent the visual landscape. While I wholeheartedly disagree that covering NYC's rolldown gates in loud, assaulting commercial media, would in any way help our public spaces, Michael did seem to cling to this notion as if he almost believed it himself.
Turns out my gut feeling that Mediacy had little interest in providing a service for the city but rather extracting value directly from our shared spaces, was right. These clearly opportunistic new Gatescape projections do not transform the city but for a brief moment. In doing so they create a spectacle based around our most base needs of sex and desire, ego and self, which has no place on our shared sidewalks. If that wasn't enough, the sheer sight of the hobo setup was visually appalling, distracting, and opportunistic. If anything the marketing director at Armani Exchange should be fired for not looking into how this "campaign" would reflect on the company. Either that or demand their money back.
While I could go on about this for a long time, I will let the video speak for itself.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Unauthorized Public Work or Coincidence?

My good friend Adriel just sent me this photo from the 96th street 4-5-6 station. He says it looks like someone removed the ads intentionally and then arranged them like this. They look too precarious to be the work of a CBS employee. In fact removing these ads only requires a regular philips head screwdriver once you've dug out some putty placed over the screws in each of the 4 corners, so it is entirely possible. If anyone did this, or knows who might have done this, please write us as we are very curious if there is a new sculptural form of ad removal that is about to bloom in our city.

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An Artist’s Alfresco John Hancock

I have known about this MOMO piece for a while now due to my healthy obsession with his work. While it is not advertising related it is a prime example of how street art and art made in public spaces can quietly become a part of the everyday experience of the public citizen and therefore enrich that experience and ones connection to the environment. Without asking for anything, this piece allows the viewer to reflect on the creation and therefore the creator. The multiple interpretations show the ambiguity with which the work is perceived and therefore its incredibly public nature. It would seem it is only there to be contemplated, the polar opposite of advertising whose interested is to avoid multiple meanings in an effort to secure a single branded thought. How then do we criminalize MOMO's artwork and promote the sale of our public spaces to outdoor advertising industries?

The thin orange line of paint traces a winding path though downtown Manhattan neighborhoods like SoHo, Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side. Uneven and wandering, the stripe runs up major avenues and across narrow streets, sometimes prominent, at other times so faint and worn that it is barely visible. [More Here]

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Friday, September 17, 2010

PaperGirl NewsPaper-In A City-In Einer Stadt

A while back I was asked to write something for the PaperGirl Newspaper being printed in Germany in conjunction with the PaperGirl "community project" for lack of a better description. Long story short, the Papergirl project takes donated artworks and gifts them to the public by biking around the city in mass offerings. Visit their website for more information about the project, its motivations, and where it is going in the future. The Newspaper, was an extension of the PaperGirl project and included musings on public space, artist interviews, thoughts on the act of giving, and many other notable topics. It is a small art piece in and of itself and a reflection of the much larger goals behind a focused public intervention. Below is the text I wrote, which was translated into German for the final paper printing.

In a city, any city, our city, this city, my city, your city, things are new to you and me. It’s only been a short while since we have piled upon one another in these tiny boxes we call homes, apartments with numbers to distinguish where we are from. Once we spread out with great distances between us and called ourselves by different names. Now our hearts and our emotions pile high on top of one another in separate spaces we establish for our separate lives. And yet in our isolation we are anything but alone. In a city our lives are built in the streets, built upon the interactions outside where we see the neighbor next door, the corner shop, the mom and pop, that person we ignore. It’s when we leave these boxes and step outside into the daylight we tend to meet the people we might otherwise have forgotten in our isolation. This is where we create a city, define our collective identity and negotiate our common interests. When we lay quietly in our bedrooms it’s hard to imagine we live amidst a crowd, yet if the walls were broken down, we would see each other every time we had a thought. Outside there are no walls, and hearts and thoughts collide as our voices and bodies create any city, our city, this city, my city, your city.

And isn’t this fantastic, this life that’s built up a mile high, made of people tossed on top of one another. At home we may be different but when we venture from our isolation we suddenly become Berlin, New York, Miami or Madrid. A mess of emotion crowded so tightly that what this city is, is everything we share together. And when we are alone in our tiny little boxes it really doesn’t matter who we are to the city that were from. It is only when we wander to the streets that together our voices create the city that we live in. So you may decorate your four walls with pictures of kings, or paint them white and let the emptiness be your company. Either way it doesn’t really matter to the rest of us. Inside you don’t exist. Outside you are potentially profound.

Have you ever had a conversation with a stranger and they said something you had never heard before from anyone you ever knew because this person didn’t know better than to say what no one ever thought to say? This is the benefit of a life spent amongst the living, all the people that surround you when you wander out the door. In fact it doesn’t have to a be a stranger but a wall on which they left their mark that alters how you see the world and changes everything. These written words or images are left for you and I to find as we traverse this concrete playground. Where inside your voice falls on deaf ears, outside it carries far and wide as people take your thoughts and pass them along like embers carried, burning hot, waiting to ignite the next fire that we gather round. Yet maybe you do not care to speak and instead you find yourself alone on a bench reading letters written to you by someone who isn’t there. Even in this state of silence it would be difficult to ignore the eyes that fall upon you or the sounds of feet shuffling by, reminding you that you are not alone. On a busy city street you can stand alone, quietly, and would never forget where you are, in a city, any city, our city, this city, my city, your city.

It is in fact these conversations, moments and interactions make you feel at home, remind you where you are. And then the rains may come. First they start slowly as clouds gathering high above the buildings. The sun may go but we continue our conversations, buttoning jackets and donning scarves to keep the chill from moving us towards isolation. The roar of voices is directly proportional to the frequency of the rains falling from the sky. The letters you were reading might need protection and the city looses one more person while umbrellas allow a remaining few to occupy the streets. Tucked in doorways, strangers have their final say and leave you with racing thoughts, ideas you need to contemplate. And then the rains come harder. Rivers grow on sidewalks draining into lakes making street crossings difficult and navigation labored. Lightning may strike and punctuate the emptiness. The crack of sound alerting you that no one is around. And suddenly you may realize you are not anywhere. The rain so hard it washed away the writing on the walls, drove away the strangers and left you on a sidewalk in city you don’t recognize. The silence is like darkness, the lack of conversation like a veil that shrouds your vision; with no sounds this city could be any city, your city, my city, someone else’s city.

And if you decide to be brave, to sit under the clouds and wait till the water stops to flow, you may find the strangers coming back into the streets. The first may only stay a minute, moving quickly for a destination. Without a voice to make a thought this figure only suggests the place that you are in. But then a newspaper is spread over a wet bench and suddenly there is another, permanent for now, stealing glances while letters are read written by someone who is not there. And then a conversation begins, faint at first but growing in intensity. An argument is made for statements made between strangers and out of nowhere you begin to see the contours of a place. Doors open as the tiny boxes that keep us quietly tucked away empty into the streets. What texts and images were washed clean are penned again onto the walls. The clouds have lifted and the roar of conversation takes its rightful place. And everywhere you look, suddenly as if by magic you realize you are in a city, any city, our city, this city, my city, your city.


Mobstr-Consume Until You Are Consumed

VIA Unurth
One of my favorite anti advertising artists Mobstr is at it again.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Graffiti Laws Make No Sense: NYPD Arrests Watercolor Artist for Painting Outdoors

Very interesting post on HyperAllergic, and well worth the read.
A few days ago Brooklyn artist Julie Torres contacted Hyperallergic to let us know about a serious legal issue she was facing as a result of painting outdoors. She explained that on July 17, she was enjoying a summer afternoon in Williamsburg as she worked on a large watercolor painting that was taped to a construction wall at the corner of North 11th Street and Bedford Avenue, near Hyperallergic HQ. [More here]

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West 13th and Washington Now Under the Control of the Details Guild

Photo by Luna Park, original post at The Street Spot

We have posted many times about the West 13th and Washington negotiated public space location. Through the years it has gone from being a fantastic mural by Conor Harrington, to being covered by NPA, only to be uncovered by DickChicken and myself, to then being wantonly destroyed by commercial media, to its newest incarnation as the Details Guild operated "art" location it is now. The history of this location was told to me by Sol Joseph of Critical Massive in a conversation we had months ago, out of which I came with a deep respect for his particular business. From what I understand at this point, the landlord has approved the Details Guild to curate this location for an undetermined amount of time. They will provide artists (Blek Le Rat being the first) with month long runs at this location in exchange for bragging rights and a large advertisement for themselves, branding both the art and that corner forever. Sales of prints will be offered through their website, all proceeds of which will go to teen arts mentoring programs.

While I have been watching this location for some time now, obviously I am opinionated about its use. I have decried its use for advertising, and one would imagine it's transformation into a curated art location would gain my approval. Yes and no. First, the initial outlaw quality that this wall possessed was for me its best incarnation. Without true authorization this wall saw a constantly evolving array of artworks and public discourse. In fact, Conor Harrington's mural lasting so long at a location whose ownership was constantly under negotiation, exemplified some of the ideas I have about unauthorized use of public space and artist's ability to self police critically. Conor's mural lasted a long time without anyone destroying it and this is a testament to the level of respect and concern public citizens had for the piece. It is also proof that allowing the public to self curate their own walls may not result in the widespread destruction that many critics of this practice assume.
Although I am happy to see art finally triumphing at this location, as is often the case this tenuous situation is mitigated by a corporate identity. Details has branded this wall and by extension all artists who then use this space in an effort to either promote Details magazine, or sell prints for charity-depending on how you see it. (They did keep the corner part of this wall for themselves) What is lost in this situation is the public's role in actively engaging their own spaces. The Details Guild may edit content, choose safe artists, and generally make their own private call on what is appropriate at this location. They will use the streets of our city to benefit their company, re imagining themselves as an institution "dedicated to the support, development, and promotion of the creative arts, and their connection with the greater community." What we loose as a public is an opportunity to have a wall for ourselves. A place in which we can mark the city and by extension become closer to it, physically and emotionally invested in the space that we occupy. While I am all for public arts projects, murals and other forms of authorized public works, this situation leaves much to be desired.

Lastly I would like to make a quick observation. It seems NPA, or Contest Promotions as they are now known is "advertising" this location at many of their illegal street level advertising billboards. While I am unsure if there is any connection here between Levis and the Details Guild, any connection will only make this location more suspect and support the thought that what was once a public venue for artistic expression is now a street art advertising spot slyly hidden beneath a public arts project.

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210 7th Avenue at it Again

We have reported about this location several times in the past after Chelsea Now wrote an article about the absentee landlord and his interest in profiting off his building through un-permitted illegal outdoor advertising. I believe InWindow Outdoor was initially responsible for the illegal ads when the building was receiving heavy copy last year, but they have all but vanished from NYC due to their illegal business model and the dedication of PublicAdCampaign and all the readers that helped us track down their illegal signage. It seems the building owner decided we had all forgotten about his shenanigans but alas he was mistaken. Because there are no permits for this monstrosity on the DOB BIS website, we had to call it in. We were given complaint number 1289364 and await the DOB's response.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Princess Hijab Hits Parision Subways on Film

Video Here

Princess Hijab is one of many public artists whose work deals directly with advertising culture and public space. Made all the more interesting by France's recent decision to ban the Burqa just yesterday, this rare installation footage is well worth the watch. I was under the impression Hijab stole the ads and then returned to the location for install. I was unaware that the work was done on site. My own recent installations have involved this same sort of performative aspect and I applaud anti-ad artists who spend the time on site as a form of protest. At this point it takes on forms of civil protest and the public's interaction with your process can be highly informative for them.

Also, check out Princess Hijab's work in Toronto, made for the recent TOSAT project.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Recycling The City-Clara Subirats

Clara Subirats created this short doc on 4 practicing street artists that use their work to spark conversation and dialogues in the public realm. Wonderful to be included with such top notch talent, in particular Spectre, whose work has been in my absolute top 5 for the past 2 years.

Recycling the city from clara subirats on Vimeo.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Billboard Advertising: Sex, Violence, and the Art of Marketing

Depending upon whom you ask, the billboard above could be a creative conflation of high art—think abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock—and the low art of titillation in the service of commerce, or it could be an offensive depiction of a female posed as victim of violence, meant to attract voyeuristic glances in a cynical ploy to stamp a brand—in this case designer jeans–upon the public’s consciousness. [More Here]

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Can I Just Get My Suit Tailored Please!

September the 4th, one of my oldest friends got married. While most of the wedding was clear of shameless advertising intrusions, one of the best men did show up with this atrocity. Clearly I will not use this tailor again.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Who Is Responsible For This Masterpiece?

VIA Vandalog

Gaia over at Vandalog just posted this image. It is fantastic as far as I'm concerned. Fittingly enough Gaia has asked for my assistance in figuring out the artist and I must say it is definitely before my time. That corner, Houston and Broadway, hasnt had a newsstand or small billboards on it since I can remember. Does anyone have any idea who might be responsible for this fantastic work? Some bizarre Daniel Buren one off where he decided for a moment to give up the stripes for text in response to Jenny Holzer?

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

K.A.R.A.T.E. Has Immense Potential And It Is Up To Us To Help It Reach Its Lofty Goals

K.A.R.A.T.E. (Kids are rallying against the empire) has launched a site. Beyond the information available on the website, I was unclear how exactly K.A.R.A.T.E. would function beyond the pending PosterBoy case against Henry Matyjewicz. I put in a call to our friends over at the PosterBoy movement for a little more information and got a response this afternoon. Essentially there are 6-7 individuals behind the K.A.R.A.T.E. project all of whom showed their support in the form of visits, phone calls, emails, money, art, and awareness, when Henry was initially arrested months ago. Collectively they saw a need for a response model that was knowledgeable about what to do when someone is arrested in a public art related crime. This much info is available through the website, but what I wanted to know was how will K.A.R.A.T.E. move forward, what are the participants expectations for the future. Is there a life for K.A.R.A.T.E. beyond PosterBoy? The answer is a resounding yes, but the outcome is dependent on you!!!

As of yet, K.A.R.A.T.E. is dealing solely with the PosterBoy case. (they have not been contacted by other artists yet in need of assistance) That said, we all know the PosterBoy case has the potential to be a landmark study in how public art practices that challenge current systems of public space usage will be dealt with by our municipalities. It is only expected that K.A.R.A.T.E. should concentrate their full attention on this first case. The outcome of this case will potentially have long terms affects on how unauthorized public art is viewed by legal systems and the general public, as well as how alternative forms of public protest beyond the typical rally or sit in will be integrated into public practice. The stakes are high to say the least.
While the scope of the K.A.R.A.T.E. campaign has yet to reach its full potential-providing legal assistance for a number of artists at any one time and ultimately empowering citizens to go out and challenge the system in ways never imagined before-this in no way diminishes it's importance right now at this very moment even in its current form. In fact the potential for K.A.R.A.T.E. to grow into something much larger should embolden anyone at all interested in promoting a public environment susceptible to public discourse to pick up their checkbook, donate art, or in any way help get this program off the ground with a bang.
The PosterBoy movement has taken on a tremendous task, partially out of necessity, but also with an expectation that a legal battle would be the outcome of the original PosterBoy art movement. While you might want to watch from the sidelines to see how this will all play out, now is not the time. K.A.R.A.T.E. is blazing new and unfamiliar ground with potentially far reaching consequences for how our cities are used by citizens, and how they will allow public participation in their very creation. This is not art related! This will affect us all and it is our responsibility to push this first case as hard as possible. A big win for Henry will embolden not only artists but lawyers, city agencies, and other potential aid to hop on board when new cases come down on artists or individuals trying to positively change the spaces they live in.
You can start helping by coming out to the Bushwick Block Party this Sunday. Talib Kweli will be playing amongst others. Have fun and get behind something you believe in.!

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Works of art replace ads after hostile billboard takeover

While I'm not one to post much on media related to projects we do, I thought this short article was worth noting. Robin Heron of Post City Toronto really listened to the motivations behind the TOSAT project, understanding that these non-violent civil protests are not so much about getting art on the streets, but rather using art as a viable medium to push our concerns with the current uses of public space. Not only that but Robin did a nice job of putting both the PublicAdCampaign project and illegalsigns.ca within the same context. The unauthorized protests feed the legal battles and vice versa. Ultimately we are after the same things, just going about our business in different ways.
TARGETING PILLARS owned by billboard giant Pattison Outdoor that were allegedly in violation of city bylaws, more than a dozen volunteers joined together to remove 41 ads and replace them with 85 pieces of art donated by both local and international artists. [More Here]

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