Billboard Culture (Sold!) (2011)

Curated by Evan Hartney
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In a culture frequently consumed by the world of advertising, it becomes increasingly clear that one’s worth involves not who that person is, but what they do. In this way, advertising becomes a method to sell oneself. However like in consumer products, advertising can be misleading even with the best intentions. Thus this exhibit emphasizes the use of advertisements as a way of twisting reality to display how one - person or product - wishes to be perceived. To begin with, "Blank Project Design" admits that it doesn’t sell any idea but reminds us that the world may not be what it appears to be. Yet the "Dyke Action Machine!" project, which takes commercial contexts and places lesbian images into them, reminds us that an entire group within a culture is underrepresented, and that this group can also employ the same techniques that neglect them to sell themselves. In the piece not my "PRESiDENT not my WAR", the corporate buddy icons on AOL’s instant messenger are replaced with anti-war and governmental resistant icons. In this public space, each user personally displays their views by their carefully selected images and texts that come to define them, but more importantly sell others into these representations. Furthermore, "The Ad Generator" displays through random images and texts that advertising can be meaningful but is actually just meaningless. Even the art project "Add-Art", which replaces a browser’s advertisements with curated art-pieces, comments on how easily replaceable and consequently meaningless advertising is. Lastly, "Spending Time With Poster Boy", which follows the street artist rearranging subway posters with a razor, shows how easily advertising can twist reality by physically transforming and mutating the ads. Ultimately, no matter how well intentioned advertising may be it nonetheless covers up the truth behind it.

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