Our First Example of Détournement

Artwork by Grace Miceli. Photo by Luna Park.

Artwork by Grace Miceli. Photo by Luna Park.

It's sort of surprising to us that while we've done over 30 ad takeovers this year, Grace Miceli's poster is our first example of traditional détournement, often a staple of ad takeovers. You'd just think we would have included more of them. And, admittedly, there's at least one more coming up, but two still seems light. Hopefully, that means we've been successful in putting together a varied line up of artists, with even more varied fan bases, for whom ad takeovers are not an everyday thought.

Miceli says, "This piece is about all of the things that make my brain feel good when I see them. I’m interested in co-opting the imagery of products we consume and using them to connect with you."

That kindness and desire for connection is missing in so much traditional détournement. It's inspiring to see Miceli use this protest tool for parody and human connection rather than parody and rage (as important as rage can be). We hope you'll find this piece, appreciate that life can sometimes be bleak, and smile because at least we all know it.

Artwork by Grace Miceli. Photo by Luna Park.

Artwork by Grace Miceli. Photo by Luna Park.

Prescience and Positivity

Hope and Promise by Jamel Shabazz. Photo by Luna Park.

Hope and Promise by Jamel Shabazz. Photo by Luna Park.

It was almost a year ago that we reached out to Jamel Shabazz about participating in Art in Ad Places. At first, he suggested a really beautiful shot of a women chilling in Williamsburg sometime maybe in the early 2000's. That photo was pure cool. And we were down to install it. But then Jamel changed his mind. He asked if he could submit a different photo instead.

Jamel says, "As an artist, it is my responsibility to use my gift to create images that provoke thought and inspire positive change. I accepted the invitation to participate in Art in Ad Places, due to the ever growing divide and escalation of hate crimes in this country. The image I selected represents the innocence of children in a world full of uncertainty. It is my hope that this photograph will inspire tolerance, empathy, and compassion."

Jamel sent "Hope and Promise" to us in September 2016. It took us a while to get the piece installed (that's another story), but it almost goes without saying that it's as relevant today as it was a year ago. As always, we're happy to put some good vibes into the world, and honored to work with such a legendary, thoughtful, and prescient artist.

Hope and Promise by Jamel Shabazz. Photo by Luna Park.

Hope and Promise by Jamel Shabazz. Photo by Luna Park.

When Do You Think?

Blue Lady by Parker Day. Photo by Luna Park.

Blue Lady by Parker Day. Photo by Luna Park.

For our 30th ad takeover in this series, we have Parker Day, the LA-based photographer whose ICONS series really caught our eye for its mix of beauty with the absurd. The ICONS photos are about identity, and how we shape our identities, but how much control do we really have and how much is determined by the images and ideas fed to us by advertising?

Parker says, "Ads tell you what to think; art inspires you to think for yourself. Art in Ad Places is helping shift the paradigm of imagery in the public space. I hope my work Blue Lady surprises and delights people who wouldn't otherwise find my work."

Maybe take a moment this week to consider when you actually think versus when you just go along with decisions that have been pushed on you (often by advertising). If that ratio seems a bit out of whack, we suggest filling your life with more art, and (as much as possible) fewer ads.

Blue Lady by Parker Day. Photo by Luna Park.

Blue Lady by Parker Day. Photo by Luna Park.

Millennials Who Brunch

Plate 73: It is better to be lazy. by Emily Lombardo. Photo by Luna Park.

Plate 73: It is better to be lazy. by Emily Lombardo. Photo by Luna Park.

When Emily Lombardo showed us her piece for Art in Ad Places, it was immediately obvious where it had to be installed: Somewhere with lots of people waiting for brunch. What is more IDGAF luxury than waiting a hour to get into a brunch spot for bottomless mimosas? We haven't been installing a lot of work that is explicitly anti-consumerist, but that is certainly a component of Art in Ad Places. In short, as advertising encourages consumption (especially conspicuous consumption), it encourages selfishness and anti-environment behaviors. Easier to drink a glass of champagne that bother about the world about to end. That's the thought-process that advertising reinforces.

Here's what Emily has to say:

I contributed Plate 73: It is better to be lazy. from The Caprichos, 80 etchings after Goya’s Los Caprichos, to be included in Art in Ad Places as a continuation of the tradition of social critique through art started by Goya in 1799. Los Caprichos, often considered the first work of modern art, was a major departure from Goya’s work as a court painter in Spain. With the aim of making this work accessible to the Spanish people he released the work for sale in a perfume shop. The work cleverly exposes the glut, excess and oppression the upper/religious class imposed on the people. Unfortunately these themes reach across history into our present day, which inspired me to recreate this work through a queer feminist lens.

I was compelled to work with Art in Ad Places because these ad spaces are used to distract us from the real issues of our time. Just as the couple floats on an oil barrel toasting with champagne, they are blind to the issues of global warming and rising sea levels. Corporate ads try to transport us into this fantasyland of luxury. This work and the actions of Art in Ad Places argues: Luxury=Death…is it better to be lazy?

So... Cheers! To the millennials who brunch!

Plate 73: It is better to be lazy. by Emily Lombardo. Photo by Luna Park.

Plate 73: It is better to be lazy. by Emily Lombardo. Photo by Luna Park.

Abstracting The City

Artwork by Sam Horine. Photo by Luna Park.

Artwork by Sam Horine. Photo by Luna Park.

Sam Horine has an eye for cities. He's one of New York's most well-regarded street and urban landscape photographers. So it's a real treat to see him embracing Art in Ad Places this week, and with a piece that's a bit different from the crisp cityscapes he's known for.

"I'm participating in the Art in Ad Places project because I love the subtlety of it - in so many ways we are bombarded by calls to action and attention by ads every single day and so for this project I chose an image that visually meant nothing - an out of focus image of Manhattan's fabled meatpacking neighborhood - a neighborhood itself so transformed as to be nearly unrecognizable from how I remember it. The image itself is meant to be an abstraction, a color palette, something that you could easily pass by and never notice or something that could stop you and pull you in as you attempt to make sense of the scene." - Sam Horine

We haven't installed much abstract work this year, but it's a powerful thought, that Sam's piece is simultaneously a beautiful photo and something abstract that doesn't demand your attention and allows you to ignore it.

One question we often get is, "Why don't you install a dozen or more copies of each week, instead of just one?" Well, besides printing cost and the time commitment, Sam's poster is an interesting example of something that might work better as a single-installation. Imagine seeing this image in every payphone in a neighborhood. Yes, it would be great to get rid of all of those ads, but after a certain amount of repeat viewing, the image itself would transition from an abstract color palette into an icon of sorts, almost like a logo or an ad itself. And of course there's something romantic about knowing that this modest gift only exists on one little corner this busy city.

Artwork by Sam Horine. Photo by Luna Park.

Artwork by Sam Horine. Photo by Luna Park.