Tag Archives: billboard

STREETSY: ARTWORK ON A BILLBOARD – WHEN CAPITALISM AND ART MAKE A BABY

Capitalism and art. They’re not the best of friends. Sometimes they look at each other with roiling contempt. The fact is they need each other, albeit, to a point, and — deep down — they’re in love with one another, because each has something the other desperately wants: Money and cultural cachet. They help each other out in a symbiotic relationship that brings funding and artists together and makes culture happen on a grand scale.

Go into any major art institution and there are the plaques and signs on the walls and in the beautifully printed exhibition programs with the names of billionaire industrialists and entrepreneurs who have become art-world philanthropists, and see those names next the corporate sponsors and logos of the various companies — often Wall Street powerhouses and global Fortune 500 corporations — and the words “made possible by” or “with the generous support of.”  At the major museums, at art fairs and events, that sponsorship and acknowledgement of support is par for the course.

Indeed, money makes the art world go around, though not necessarily art itself. The streets are a different matter. The very fact that street art is often illicit and seen “in the streets” is because there is no financial support or patronage or sanctioned art space for that work. Street art largely bypasses the gatekeepers, the curators, collectors, gallerists, and financial patrons. Granted, that the work of many street artists does not have a home in the galleries and museums is often because most street art is not great. Really, it’s mostly kind of lazy and sucky. From an art world perspective, it doesn’t warrant being on a gallery wall unless it is really great or there is at least the potential to co-opt it for financial gain or cultural profit in doing so. And if it is really great, it often only works in the context of the street. Once it’s on a gallery wall, most street art loses part of what made it special in the first place. It loses that context and its inherent subversiveness, aside from whatever its content  or message may be. In any event, capitalism is not in a direct  agreement or relationship with street art.

But sometimes artwork that is on the street is in a direct relationship with commercial patronage, for example, when it’s commissioned and given a dedicated commercial space well-suited for exhibiting the artwork. An advertising  billboard is such a space, and it’s the location of the wondrous and evocative images of Taiwanese artist James Jean, whose painting “Schrodinger’s Kitten Rescue” has been rendered on a large billboard above in the Sawtelle neighborhood (a.k.a., Little Osaka) of Los Angeles. Here capitalism and art have come together to make a cultural baby, a creator’s commercial-free vision imposed on the urban landscape in what is otherwise a commercial-filled space.

That Massive Controversial Justin Bieber Billboard for Calvin Klein Jeans … SoHo, New York

This is the outdoor billboard ad for the recent controversial Calvin Klein Underwear ad featuring Canadian pop star Justin Bieber. This particular billboard spot — a massive ad space on the side of a building in SoHo — has been occupied by Calin Klein advertisements for more than a decade.

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In New York … “I Need a Miracle” Art Billboard at Wallplay

The phrase “I need a Miracle” is the latest cryptic message to appear on the billboard on the side of building at the northeast corner of Delancey and Orchards streets in the heart of New York City’s Lower East Side. Previous messages have included “I can’t grow up,” and at other times the ad-space has been filled with commissioned original artwork. The billboard is a playful art-space run by the creative agency Wallplay, which also uses the retail space in the building to which the billboard is attached.

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In New York … The Super Awesome Retro-’80s “Dude” Billboard

Dude! Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude!!! The “Dude” billboard in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, next door to the office building of ad agency Mother UK, and, of course, above a bar.

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Close-up Photos of JR’s Epic Building Takeover in New York Times Square

Alright, we’re here in Times Square, New York City, and here they are … lots more fresh photos, including close-ups, of the massive, epic street art building-takeover and billboard by French artist JR. The the giant-eye billboard artwork is the crowning touch on a project that’s been in the works the past few weeks. The images of people faces on the building itself has been a work in progress in since early May, when the artist set up a photo-booth and studio truck in Times Square and then pasted images of volunteer models on the sidewalk and building nearby. The giant eye on the billboard can be seen from quite far away, as photos below and in our previous post show.

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American Apparel Ad x Lady Millard

The artist and “Lady” tagger who goes by the name Lady Millard put her signature cursive and umlauted spray tag on this large black-and-white American Apparel ad on the side of a cast-iron building on Mulberry Street in Nolita, in New York City. “Lady” has been popping up everywhere downtown in recent weeks.

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