<body> Public Ad Campaign: Aiming to Disrupt Ads in New York City, Artworks Instead Blend In
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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Aiming to Disrupt Ads in New York City, Artworks Instead Blend In

My criticism of this project was announced by my questioning of the curators at a recent panel at the New School in NYC. Basically I was concerned that this type of project, while attempting to disrupt the ad cycle that so clearly has a strangle hold on our collective attention in public space, only further institutionalizes the infrastructure through which we receive this bombardment into the fabric of our city. What is passed off as critique is actually a deeply disturbing acceptance of our inability to imagine alternative visions of society through art. As if a colorful non-commercial image thrown into an onslaught of commercial media could somehow challenge the medium itself and help us to breath new life into a system that is normalizing consumptive behaviors that are at the heart of social and environmental issues we all face. 

The idea behind Commercial Break — an exhibition produced by Public Art Fund (PAF) of 23 artists’ versions of visual “interruptions within the advertising cycles” on some of New York City’s most public screens — seems like a good one. The artist list is appealingly international, including Cory Arcangel, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Martine Syms, Hayal Pozanti, Cécile B. Evans, Tabor Robak, and Mary Reid Kelley. The project looks to inject an aesthetic time-out into the onslaught of commercial images meant to sell us new and improved versions of ourselves. It’s important that the work is being shown in public, because certainly more than languages, professions, or nationalities, New Yorkers share a familiarity with the discourse of advertising. It is merciless in its attempt to convince viewers of their own lack and of their need to buy their way out of the hole. More [HERE]

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