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Advertising With A Side Of Art

Jun 23, 2009

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Barrie Hardymon

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The relationship between art and commerce has always been complicated, and often controversial. (Not to mention cliched, apparently. Sigh.) The outrage over the use of the Beatles song "Revolution," being used to sell Nike sneakers, has never really abated if you study the comments attached the the YouTube video. And folk/punk/feminist hero Ani DiFranco had to start a whole new message board to address angry fans when she licensed her song "32 Flavors" to the National Football League. Today, we talked to Seth Stevenson about whether selling out has become so in, there's really no such thing anymore. The thing is, there are some commercials that are excellent little moments in their own right — like a few Pepsi commercials, or the bizzaro Bob Dylan for Victoria's Secret spots. In America, advertising is art, so why should we get all up in arms when the two are so indubitably mixed up in the first place? As the Righteous Babe folks themselves put it: "Contradictions are at the heart of daily life — every life — in the era of capitalism." And that's not all bad — enjoy this oldie but goodie as well.

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