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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Artvertising

Well, it's been a pretty boisterous response to the latest kerfuffle regarding Buffalo's waterfront development. One afternoon riding back to Hamburg I saw them painting one of Buffalo's historic grain elevators, turning it into a giant six-pack of beer. You love them, you hate them. It's art, it's advertising. It's fun, it's an abomination.

If nothing else, it's noticeable. This view is from South Park by the Michigan Avenue lift bridge.

Local artist A.J. Fries posted his support for the paint job on Facebook. The response was a breathless, sweaty, fist pounding argument about what is art. I suggested that, had the paint job been done in 1930, people would be chaining themselves to them to preserve it as art; if this was 1930, people would be screaming to have the thing repainted.

Is it art? Absolutely not. Is it advertising? Yes. Is advertising art? Yes, definitely. Is this, then, art? Oh, of course! See how it goes.

So, if this is not art, but advertising, and if advertising is art, then what of a print of a vehicle (whose design can certainly be regarded as art), the sole purpose of which was to advertise? Is the print advertising? Is it art?

Or is it just awesome?

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