Sunday, July 15, 2007

Having Trouble Selling Out? (Part Deux)

I've been meaning to share this with everybody for a while. File under: art as commodity (seems apt, given the abundance of art commodities that have graced Jacksonville's artblogs as of late...

Introducing, a Maine-based fine art catalog/retailer modeled after big-box stores but featuring a nationwide selection of fresh contemporary artworks.

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It's hard to miss the tongue-in-cheekiness of the site, (the sweet printed catalogs evoke Target or Kohl's Sunday circulars only feature works of cutting-edge contemporary art) but it raises a lot of issues worth thinking about, especially as we navigate the treacherous straights of being contemporary artists in a culture dominated by consumerism.

Started by a fellow University of Northern Iowa (my alma mater) alum Brian Reeves (MFA from the University of Wisconsin Madison), Slop Art has been around for at least 10 years, touring the country putting on exhibition installations that mimic the feel of a retail chain stores, with conspicuous Wal-Mart-esque yellow price tags accompanying each piece, and friendly Slop Art 'employees' helping gallery-going 'consumers' make their art buying decisions. These guys even run a Slop Art TV ad (and include their printed circular in local newpapers) in each community they visit. The big question is, would anyone down here recognize the satire in this?

Check it out and see one artist's (albeit cheeky) attempt at creating a pseudo-serious contemporary art retailer.


Byron said...

The big question is, would anyone down here recognize the satire in this?

Maybe they wouldn't and but I wouldn't care. It's brilliant. I would love to see this franchised. I'd start one. Can we start one?

kelly eason said...

haha, wow... i think this is funny & i would love to flip through an issue, but it's also a little scary.