Tag Archives: MAK Center for Art and Architecture

Un-Advertising: Your Commute, Now With Social Commentary

If you’re an LA commuter running out of things to say to the people in your car pool, try planning your route to work past the sites of the 21 soaring pieces of art in the MAK Center’s city-wide exhibition How Many Billboards? Art in Stead. (There’s an updated map of locations on the site.) Up through March, the project’s central idea is that, in the words of the director, Kimberli Meyer,

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. How Many Billboards? Art In Stead proposes that art periodically displace advertisement in the urban environment.

Billboards are a dominant feature of the landscape in Los Angeles. Thousands line the city’s thoroughfares, delivering high-end commercial messages to a repeat audience. Given outdoor advertising’s strong presence in public space, it seems reasonable and exciting to set up the possibility for art to be present in this field. The sudden existence of artistic speech mixed in with commercial speech provides a refreshing change of pace. Commercial messaging tells you to buy; artistic messaging encourages you to look and to think.

Think of good, for example:

Or how big a snowball a person can fit in his mouth:

[Via UrbanDaddy. Thanks, Hilla]