How Many Billboards: MAK Center replaces crappy ads with crappy art

Artists in LA apparently have to buy ad space just get anyone to look at their work.

How Many Billboards is a project in LA replacing billboards with commissioned artworks. The philosophy: “art should occupy a visible position in the cacophony of mediated images in the city, and it should do so without merely adding to the visual noise.”

Funny. That’s exactly what we’ve been saying about advertising for years.

According to director Kimberli Meyer, “Commercial messaging tells you to buy; artistic messaging encourages you to look and to think.” Wrong. Great artistic messaging encourages you to look and think. Great commercial messaging also encourages you to look and think. Both are tragically rare, and frankly I’m not seeing either represented in this project.

To artists:

Stop. Making. Meaningless. Crap. The world is full of people with no artistic ability who are desperately trying to make the world a better place. Use some of your unique, bountiful skills to help them communicate in beautiful and interesting ways.

To advertisers:

Every media buy is a potential work of art. Stop making boring, ugly crap and use the talents of real artists to make your communication beautiful and interesting. It’ll be good for business and it’ll keep LA just slightly less horrible.

(Of course, there’s always a place for creative work that’s not traditionally meaningful or traditionally artistic.)

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One Comment

  1. Posted March 19, 2010 at 09:26 | Permalink

    I agree with you–particularly because the winners of this program are not the artists nor the general public. The winners are the media companies and insurance companies, but people do not seem to comprehend this situation.

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