Monday, 28 January 2008

2w05 “Branded and On Display,”

Hank Willis Thomas
"Branded Head," 2003
digital C-print mounted to Plexiglas
96 x 60"

Laurie Hogin
"New Colgate Luminous Enamel-Strengthening Cinnamint Toothpaste"

from "Allegory of Psychodemographics: Twenty-Four Brands My Family Uses in a Typical Summer Day," 2006
oil paint on panel
24 panels, each 11 x 14"

“ ‘Branded’ examines the work of artists who explore specific strategies of branding and presentation in their response to this pervasively commoditized environment.”

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — It’s no wonder Americans are heavily invested in a culture of consumption. As targets of ubiquitous corporate branding campaigns and marketing mania, we are bombarded 24/7 on all fronts – through every conceivable form of mass media and product packaging, at sporting and entertainment venues, and even lobbied by the apparel of friends and family.

The unified message conveyed by each of these delivery systems: Buy! Buy! Buy!

But not everyone is passively buying what’s being sold.

“Ours is a culture defined by marketing and acquiring,” Fox and Duggan observe in text from the catalog that accompanies the exhibition. “With one of our founding fathers – Thomas Jefferson – a compulsive shopper, this just may be part of being American. Virtually every activity in our lives is experienced through purchases, from bassinets to caskets. The landscape is studded with logos, brand names, and billboards – inducements to participate in a culture defined by the acquisition of commodities.

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