Rogers advertisement  appropriated from Barbara Kruger imagery

This advertisement on the side of a bus appropriates the look and feel of the American political artist Barbara Kruger - without the acerbic social critique that her work is so well known for. To make it worse (borrowing the look without the meaning ...) this advertisement seems to subscribe to or endorse the kind of thing that has often been the target of Kruger's efforts - gender stereotypes and consumerism. Commissioned by Rogers Communications 2003.

Some general information about these pictures:

Like many other photographers, I have often made pictures of art for institutions and artists. While doing this I have learned much, made many friends and occasionally a little money. However much fun doing that kind of work is, my satisfaction from it has always been tempered by the creative limits placed on me as someone else's hired "shooter". The client always provides the subject, approves the treatment and judges its success.

This new body or work is made outside of those constraints. The pictures are of artworks from the National Capital Region. This project has several dimensions.

There is the documentary component that designates a time, place and creator (usually) to the works photographed but this is not a catalogue or index to this kind of artwork in the NCC region. I have picked and chosen according to my interests and I photograph them as I please. Some of the artworks are displayed at a distance, in some cases merely a detail is seen or the artwork is not the strongest part of the image.

I am doing this because of a my curiosity and affection for these objects and as a creative mechanism for learning and knowing. With these images I hope I can articulate some ideas and and connections that I see and put questions about living with this kind of art which is a such a defining aspect of seeing my city. As this project grows in size (- currently there are at least 125 images -) many themes and issues become easier to see and illustrate.

These pictures show a wide spectrum of stuff including temporary public works, a few graffiti works, some commercial appropriations of well known artists, monuments and works that exist in the exotic territory of the contemporary fine arts milieu. . There are good, bad, neglected , expensive, forgotten , reviled, sentimental and sometimes wonderful things that suggest issues common to much of our public art in our cities. What is it for? Who paid for it? Has it lasted. Should it last? How does it work? What does it mean? And what does it mean to me?

The pictures are accompanied by brief texts that tell you the name of the work, the artists, where it is and who owns/commissioned it. Sometimes, there are additional texts which discuss issues that are relevant to thinking about public art in more general terms. Any errors in fact will be corrected promptly if they are brought to my attention.

I hope you like them - I will continue adding to this site for quite a long time I expect...... December 2003

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