Opening up the Platform with Medium Tings' Stephanie Baptist - Part 1: Shaniqwa Jarvis

Dev Hynes  by Shaniqwa Jarvis for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Dev Hynes by Shaniqwa Jarvis for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

For just the second time since Art in Ad Places launched in 2017, we are opening up the project a guest curator. We asked Stephanie Baptist from the trailblazing apartment art gallery Medium Tings to invite two artists to contribute to Art in Ad Places.

First up is Shaniqwa Jarvis. This weekend, we installed two of her photographs.

"I contributed both images to Art in Ad Places as they evoke a sense of beauty, strength, and confidence. I wanted people to find inspiration in an unexpected spot," said Jarvis.

Ericka Hart  by Shaniqwa Jarvis for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Ericka Hart by Shaniqwa Jarvis for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

Each of Jarvis’ photos is a striking portrait that stops you in your tracks and certainly says something, but isn’t there to sell you anything, just to give the gift of inspiration. Without giving away the location of Jarvis’ work completely, we’ll just say that we installed these within about a block of each other, so we wonder who will catch that.

Thanks to Baptist/Medium Tings for embarking on this atypical collaboration! We’re looking forward to sharing part two with the world soon.

A Simple Suggestion: Human Liberty over Dumb Products

Ganzeer for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Ganzeer for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

The stars aligned this week, and after two years of hoping to work with Ganzeer, we made it happen. A version of his poster, an illustration of Maya Desnuda, was previously exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum back in 2015, but we think it works just as well outdoors. Whether it’s as a shout or a whisper, so many billboards seem to say, “You can touch my body if you buy this product” or “People will only want to touch your body if you buy this product,” so a pay phone seems an especially poignant location for Ganzeer and Desnuda’s message.

Ganzeer told us, “I'm participating in Art in Ad Places because cities should be controlled by the people who live in them and not solely by corporations and their interests. New Yorkers have a right not to be bombarded by ads for dumb products they never wanted or asked for, and instead should retain the right to express themselves and their opinions openly in public space and be exposed to the opinions of fellow city dwellers in turn, for it is the only way to further societal development (at least far more effectively than with more ‘breast augmentation’ ads). Speaking of breasts and other human body parts, this particular work of art was chosen because women should clearly be able to display (or not) their bodies however they mighty well please without worry of judgement or harassment. Any laws or social conditioning standing in the way of this very basic human liberty must cease to exist effective immediately.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Ganzeer for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Ganzeer for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

I Love You (but come on)

Christine Sun Kim for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Christine Sun Kim for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

Here’s something that everyone can empathize with. Christine Sun Kim’s contribution to Art in Ad Places touches on love, patriotism, appropriation, and the unique complications that come with being an American living in a foreign country.

Christine says, “In American Sign Language (ASL) you combine the three letters: I, L, and Y into one sign to say ‘I love you.’ That sign is very visible in media and often signed by non-deaf celebrities. I thought to myself, ‘maybe that sign needs a break from loving...’ so I added a frown to it, as if it's its own person. And as an American living in Berlin, I added the presidential seal in the background because it's been incredibly frustrating and exhausting for me to watch the United States in the midst of the current political climate. I'm contributing to Art in Ad Places to let people know that they're not alone in this.”

With this piece, because we love it so much (perhaps too much, if we take Christine's advice), we installed a few copies of the same artwork. In this post, you’ll see two. Out on the street, see if you can find more.

Christine Sun Kim for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Christine Sun Kim for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

Hints of May of '68

Josh MacPhee for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

When our friends at Dog Section Press told us that they wanted a few more photos of Josh MacPhee’s ad takeovers for an upcoming issue of DOPE, how could we say no? For this round, Josh gave us four designs inspired by posters that appeared in Paris during the May of 1968 protests, his contemporary updates on classics that we all know and love. We’l let Josh take it from here:

I first came across the posters of May 1968 and the Atelier Populaire twenty years ago, and they were so bold, clear, and concise that it immediately felt like I had always known them. The ability of these simple, one color flat graphics to punch through the haze of our spectacle-driven lives and speak basic truths—“the boss needs you, you don’t need the boss,” “together we have the power,” “the police speak to you everyday through the media”—feels absolutely timeless. Last year saw the fiftieth anniversary of these posters and the social upheaval in France that they were a part of, and I decided to re-engage with the images and see what it would look like to bring them up to the present. The Fuck Work poster is actually an older attempt at this, I initially scrawled this version of the May 68 factory with the smokestack moved over to become a middle-finger almost a decade ago. The image is a bit of political poster inside joke and commentary, as the students and artists that had participated in the Atelier Populaire were dogmatically workerist, using their posters “in the service of the workers” and to support and promote the worker occupied factories in and around Paris. But the reality of the ’68 upheaval was that very few workers actually wanted to occupy their factories. In fact the last place they wanted to be was on the shop floor, whether it was in their control or not, and most just quit coming to work and fucked off to the beach. So I see my re-working as an attempt to capture a more honest spirit of ’68, and the general truth that few workers simply want higher wages, instead we want freedom from wages altogether.

- Josh MacPhee

Thanks again to Josh and Dog Section Press for this opportunity to work together while referencing some of our activist inspirations. Keep an eye out for more from Josh in the next issue of DOPE.

Josh MacPhee for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

Unite. Support. Vote.

Josh MacPhee. Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee. Photo by Luna Park.

Tuesday is election day across the United States. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. But also… Organize. Support. Resist. Disrupt. Unite. And vote. Stay active. It’s in that spirit that we’ve installed three posters by the artist/activist/archivist Josh MacPhee.

Josh MacPhee. Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee. Photo by Luna Park.

Josh says, “Living in New York City, the only thing that happens to me out on the street more than being filmed without my consent is bring barraged with advertisements. ‘Public’ space in our society exists only as a conveyor belt to bring us from one point of purchase to another. It’s fucking exhausting. Participating in AiAP temporarily assuages my guilt for not yet buying a chainsaw and cutting through the struts of every single billboard across the country.”

Yes. Yes. Yes. Well said. That’s where we’re coming from, in a nutshell.

But in addition to that powerful statement, Josh’s posters are particularly fantastic because A. Strong messages, and B. They invite collaboration. A difficulty of this whole campaign has been to see how many people get excited about what we are doing without entering the payphones and install art themselves. These ads, hopefully, encourage participation. Pull out a marker. Draw on the booths. Fill in the blanks.

Josh MacPhee. Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee. Photo by Luna Park.