Saturday, January 26, 2008

“Branded” at Tufts

From my review of “Branded and On Display” at Tufts University Art Gallery:
One of the laws of the art world is that once you have three exhibitions on the same theme, you can certify it as a trend. So I’d like to declare that art about consumerism is one of the æsthetic trends of our young millennium.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a pair of shows on this theme: “Cornucopia” (at Montserrat College of Art through February 2) and “Ad/Agency” (at Boston University’s Photographic Resource Center through January 27). Now Tufts University Art Gallery has opened “Branded and on Display,” a fun, bright, 22-artist exhibition organized by the University of Illinois’s Krannert Art Museum that addresses how we’re inundated with marketing and addicted to shopping, and how this state of affairs infects everything in our lives.

The artists of “Branded” are both troubled by and enamored of this phenomenon. (I can’t help wondering whether the artistic focus on business isn’t related to mixed feelings of exuberance and anxiety about how the art world itself has been awash in money in recent years.) Their primary tactic is to replicate aspects of advertising, corporate logos, and the retail experience and reflect them back at us.
Read the rest here.

“Branded and On Display,” Tufts University Art Gallery, 40R Talbot Ave., Medford, Jan. 17 to March 30, 2008.

Pictured: Hank Willis Thomas’ photo “Branded Head,” 2003.


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