Love for Sale: You Know You Need It
Curated by Ryan Standfest
January 13 — February 24, 2012
Reception on Valentine’s Day — Tuesday, February 14 from 6 — 9 pm
The title, after both the Cole Porter song and another by the Talking Heads, is meant as an ironic gesture signaling the paradox of selling created need; that is, to make consumers want what you tell them to love. LOVE FOR SALE, the exhibition, is meant to address the image as a means of selling, of creating need.
Art and commerce have long been linked. The notion of the art market, of art to be sold as commodity, stretches as far back into history as the moment when the production of an image was followed by the trading, selling or stealing of that image. The more valuable the image becomes, the more highly sought after it is. Often this translates into the image being constructed to fulfill or live up to the desires of the market; to become a signifier of wealth. However, images have also been used to sell things other than the images themselves, to serve as advertisement— as the vehicle of seduction for other ideas, other objects, other beliefs, other images. This advertising image is constructed with an innate understanding of how to connect with those who may be looking for something to want; those with a need to fill.
LOVE FOR SALE will elicit responses from thinkers/makers in relation to the concept of image as a generator of need; art as commodity. Artists may propose images that serve as advertisements for either the artwork itself, or at the service of something other than itself. This may result in the parody of precious art objects, of art market or capital market strategies in general, of commercial advertising and its various techniques of seduction. Such a call for work can lay bare the very construction of the commodified image, and the means by which to critique and examine it as a potent force in our daily life.
The gallery space may address the central theme of the exhibit by transforming itself into a storefront, a strategy used by the artist Claes Oldenburg in 1961 when he merged a storefront shop with his functioning studio on New York’s Lower East Side. Small changes can place the gallery within the context of the storefront – sale placards and stickers hung from the ceiling, on the streetside windows, or next to artworks; mild advertising jingles playing on a speaker here and there; retail displays, shelving, and grocery carts; and a catalog in the form of a grocery store’s newsprint advertising supplement.
These strategies of engagement with the audience can present, as the Cole Porter tune goes, “Old love, new love, anything but true love.”