Category:scott sforza, wh producer
September 26, 2011
September 26, 2011
From a NY Times article about a gay activist's petition for Microsoft to stop participating in an online affiliate sales company CGBG, which earns revenue for anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family:
"This is economic terrorism," said Mike Huckabee, the former pastor, governor and presidential contender, who is a paid CGBG consultant. "To try to destroy a business because you don't like some of the customers is, to me, unbelievably un-American," he said in an interview.From SFGate, Dec. 6, 2005:
Christian group pulls Wells Fargo accounts / Focus on the Family objects to donation to gay rights groupFrom a 2005 Orlando Sentinel article on the Kraft, Proctor & Gamble and Disney boycotts:
"We don't expect corporate America to do our bidding on the issues, but when they use the proceeds from our business and give them to others who clobber us over the head, we say enough is enough," said Tom Minnery, who oversees public policy for the organization.
Focus on the Family's move follows a recent spate of conservative boycotts and other actions against large companies that support gay and lesbian causes, including Walgreens drugstores and Kraft Foods Inc., both of which contributed to the Gay Games.
Conservative groups also have targeted Ford Motor Co. for advertising in gay media and Procter & Gamble for advertising during the television shows "Will & Grace" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." The best-known protest may have been the nine-year boycott led by the Southern Baptist Convention against Walt Disney Co. for hosting Gay Days, a week of gay-themed activities at Walt Disney World in Orlando. That boycott ended in June.
As more companies adopt gay-friendly business policies, they risk the wrath of conservative Christian groups prepared to take action with their collective buying power.
"People are willing to fight back with their pocketbooks," says Tim Wildmon, president of the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, a conservative group that has boycotted such companies.
September 19, 2011
As those who kindly email me about run-on italics--and those who don't--know, I don't actually visit this site site as often as I probably should.
Which is part of the reason I didn't notice until just now this nice side-by-side posting of Matt Connors' painting and Barack Obama et al's blast shields at the dedication of the World Trade Center Memorial.
September 11, 2011
An extraordinary Reuters photo from the World Trade Center Mem--wait, I guess now we'd better make that "ordinary." Maybe add an integrated teleprompter or heads up display?
And Joe Biden complains that the Secret Service won't let him drive his Corvette off his driveway.
September 5, 2011
Another inadvertent Google find, also from the World War II School of propaganda art. In anticipation for an invasion of Japan, 1945 LIFE Magazine wanted to give the general public a fighter pilot's-eye view of ground attacks.
Perhaps because actual combat photos were deemed too sensitive or otherwise unsuitable, the magazine asked artist Henry Billings to create a series of strafing attack paintings.
Noted before the war for his machine age-themed murals, Billings' characteristically mild-mannered modernist/precisionist landscape style goes uncommonly well with the scenes of destruction from the air.
But the most prominent thing in the images, no matter the sometimes dizzying orientation of the earth itself, is the central fixity of the P51 Mustang's reflective sight. A technological advance that only rolled out during the war itself, the gunsight's half-mirrored glass panel meant the pilot could maintain his fix on his target without lining his eyes up directly with the line of fire. It's an interesting perceptual concept to try to capture in a traditional landscape painting.
I don't know what happened to Billings' art career, but his posthumous market is pretty weak, with paintings and drawings selling in the low hundreds of dollars. [Oh, with the exception of this nice precisionist boatyard panel. Wow.] No word on the fate of the strafing paintings, though.
Ground Strafing - LIFE June 30, 1945 [google/life]
September 5, 2011
Instead of jumping to the first search result, Google's "I'm feeling lucky" button should go to something tangentially related but certifiably awesome and probably better than what you were looking for in the first place. For the first datapoint in fitting that algorithm, I submit this post from The Bowery Boys about the "World's Greatest Photo-Mural,' as proclaimed by the New York Herald upon the dedication on December 14, 1941 [!] of the Defense Bonds Mural in Grand Central Terminal, New York City, USA.
At 96x118 feet, and covering the entire eastern wall of the station's Great Hall, it was certainly the world's largest photomural to date. [Only an Axis appeaser would point out that it's actually six photomural elements installed in a larger, non-photographic composition.]
The mural was created by the Farm Security Administration's Information Division, the legendary New Deal documentary photography propaganda unit run by Roy [no relation to Ted] Stryker. The three main photocollaged panels depicted what America was defending: Our* Land, Our* Children, and Our* Industry. [* Offer apparently not valid for non-white Americans, as the NAACP pointed out in protest letters to the FSA.]
Classic racial exclusion notwithstanding, I was most amazed that a giant war bonds photomural in Grand Central Station was the government's instant response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. And I was also wrong. According to a contemporary report in Time Magazine, the FSA photo staff spent three months designing and fabricating the massive photomural. Which should be evidence enough for the conspiracy theorists who suspected that Stryker and his puppet FDR had been planning to get the US into war all along. But it turns out the Treasury Department had already begun its defense bond campaign in 1940, and that the government marketing masters at the FSA had already been enlisted in Treasury's bond-selling campaigns.
Which seems odd, that a Depression-era tenant farmer resettlement program would morph into a historically ambitious documentary project for rural America, and then into a war bond marketer, before becoming the military propaganda operation for D-Day. Odd until you hear Stryker's longtime assistant Helen Wool describe Stryker's vision of the FSA's photographic mission in a 1964 interview for the Smithsonian:
[I]n that drastic difference he still stuck to the same type of basic idea, that America is America and that's all there was to it. We had psychological warfare films, and we had displays, and we had defense bond things, and everything else. But, underneath it he was selling America as it should be sold. [emphasis added because, obviously]So what does the 3-months making of the world's largest photomural entail? Fortunately, the snap-happy photographers at FSA like Edwin Rosskam and Marion Post Wolcott documented the process, in a group of 53-70 images now at the Library of Congress:
August 28, 2011
Such a great shot, such artful product placement. While it's unfortunately still true that you cannot buy publicity like this, only the most foolish brand evangelist will find himself unprepared when disaster coverage strikes.
The truth is, news photographers want to include your store or brand in their hurricane coverage; it can add excitement and content to the shot. The trick is to help the journalist by making that sexy storefront/logo shot not just easy, but irresistible.
Be respectful, not demanding. Craft your message with current media standards in mind, if only to increase your chances of actually getting it on the air.
Most brand messaging during a disaster buildup often feels impulsive, improvised.
Which works great for a nimble, inherently creative brand like agnes b.
But let's face it, executing on-brand on the fly is tough. Even if guy from Reuters takes a picture of your defiant but slightly odd scrawl, the benefits to your brand are limited if readers have to rely on the caption to learn that Lush is actually the name of your irreverent beer and winé shop.
But it shouldn't always have to be so ad hoc. This scaffolding covering the glass cube at the Fifth Avenue Apple store looks absolutely fantastic. Those guys really are brand geniuses.
Except it's actually for an ongoing renovation project. They got lucky. Here's Getty coverage of a very high-quality boarding-up underway at the Georgetown Apple Store:
A barrier which, however strong physically, utterly failed from a brand standpoint. The raw OSB--and not just OSB, but mismatched OSB!--is almost as detrimental as the hidden logo.
"Must Buy Apple Products," image m.v. jantzen via flickr
In fact, a quick survey shows, with the exception of a few strikingly on-point, silver sandbags in the Meatpacking District, hurricane preparedness design is a glaring weakness in Apple's heretofore vaunted retail strategy.
Another tenet of disaster coverage messaging is to balance long and short term objectives. On the one hand, there's marketing to do and money to be made. On the other, you don't want to be seen as exploiting either the situation or your customers. So make sure the statement about fair plywood panel pricing is in the shot with the helpfully upselly hurricane shopping list.
"WOWOW look at what Best Buy is doing! Selling cases of water for over 40 bucks!" via @AConDemand
And remember, a hurricane is no time for business-as-usual, and that goes for branding, too. So instead of squeezing out full, point-of-sale retail for every bottle in inventory, be creative. Offering a case of water free with purchase of every flatscreen could build goodwill toward the brand, which may pay off immediately by mitigating any effects of post-storm looting.
There will always be naysayers who think that putting even a little thought into your brand's disaster coverage presentation is crass and exploitative. Or who are willing to just hand over complete control of the presentation of their brand to freelance photographers and shiftless twitterers.
To these people, I would say simply, "Follow the experts."
Monocle's artfully, pointlessly taped storefront, via eric etheridge's awesome hurricane retail roundup
Not the branding experts who, in their obsessive preservation of brand essence, apparently miss the entire point of taping a window in the first place.
No, the other experts, the ones who live and breathe disaster coverage; the ones whose job it is to stand ready to help, to be prepared to move in wherever The Weather Channel's satellite trucks may roll. When you're wondering what your hurricane brand strategy should be, ask the important question first, "What would the Red Cross do?"
August 22, 2011
Oh brother, I have this giant post mostly written about how Leo Steinberg's awesome 1997 lecture Encounters With Rauschenberg includes all these references that show that, not only did he recognize the intimate interrelationships between Johns' and Rauschenberg's early works, he also identified hints of dialogue, reference, in works made decades later.
And of course, I'm referring to Steinberg's discussion of The Ancient Incident, the 1981 Combine/sculpture of a pair of lover/chairs pyramided atop some old steps, which is going to be in Gagosian's Rauschenberg show in Paris next month. [Hold on, unless that's the bronze replica Rauschenberg made of the sculpture in 2005. I think it may be. Except I just read the title of the image file, so no. 9/14 update: Except I just read the caption on the email announcement of the same show, and sure enough, this is patinated bronze, and, confusingly, is also titled The Ancient Incident (Kabal American Zephyr), but it has a date, 1981-2006, like it's the same work, except it's a different one, or. Anyway.]
I was really going to publish it, but it feels a little, I don't know, sappy, hokey, romantic, even. But not crazy, AFAIK. As I write out these 2.25 paragraphs, I'm starting to wonder if the best way to put the info out there isn't as an annotated, footnoted, republished version of Encounters With Rauschenberg, which reveals the lecture to actually be a secret, epic poem of the founding of Bob & Jap's hometown of Zembla. I so totally called it.
But while busily not writing that, then, and worrying my over-conversational voice, over-excited art historical imagination, and my over-reliance on semicolons and footnotes is a sign of my over-doing it on the David Foster Wallace homage front--but see, Maud, my footnotes are from Pale Fire, not Infinite Jest! I don't think I'm not copying Wallace; I think I'm not copying Nabokov! Nice work in the NYT Mag, btw!--John Powers matter-of-factly produced the greatest greg.org post ever. On his own blog, Star Wars Modern.
It's all about the connections between previously overlooked satelloon mentions by Arthur C. Clarke and J.G. Ballard and Robert Smithson and Spiral Jetty. And with some steampunk Contact thrown in for free. I bow my head in awe and gratitude, and I look forward to seeing you back here after you've finished reading it.
And then I didn't post it last night because, well, Libya, of course. Did anyone else notice this crazy, masking tape rebel flag behind these doctors treating a pro-Qadaffi soldier? [nyt/ap]
And then I didn't fix the post because I was interested in Art In America's report [via rkjd] that several months ago, John Chamberlain and Gerard Malanga quietly settled their lawsuit over the sale of 315 Johns, which Malanga and like a million other people insisted was his work, made of tons of silkscreened Chamberlain portraits as "an homage" to Warhol, but which Chamberlain claimed he had traded for with Warhol, and that Andy, he, and Henry Geldzahler had cooked it up in the first place, which is how Chamberlain managed to get it authenticated--and which he sold for $3 million at Art Basel "to an unidentified collector." Mhmm.
My favorite part is how the case got resolved "a few weeks before the May 5 opening of Chamberlain's first show at Gagosian." Actually, that's my second favorite part. My favorite part is the awesome quote Malanga's lawyer Peter Stern gave AiA:
"[T]here has been no retraction of allegations in the complaint and no one has acknowledged that they are in possession of or know the whereabouts of the painting.Well now. Glad that's all cleared up.
August 19, 2011
The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Homeland Security on the government's deployment of body scanner technology on streets and in roving vans.
These are the three pages of the FOIA report that did not come from a scanner manufacturer's publicly available brochures and website, and that were not the publicly available agenda for a scanner industry conference.
June 26, 2011
The near-universal consensus from the VIP opening was that the Italian Pavilion exhibition curated by art critic/Berlusconi apparatchik Vittorio Sgarbi was an unalloyed, over-politicized disaster. Yet so far, I have seen very little substantive criticism or engagement with it. Rome-based art theorist Mike Watson's column in Frieze is a so-far-rare exception:
...the show appears to have resulted unwittingly from the congruence of a cultural elite who lack political power and a political elite who lack culture, highlighting the negative aspects of both - although ultimately it is the clumsy Berlusconian presence which comes off worse here.Oddly, when I first started liking this quote last week, it was partly because I'd read it as "the fine arts are the final refuge for a philistine tendency," an Italian play on patriotism as the last refuge of scoundrels. I imagined a demagoguing, pseudo-populist media mogul's flailing administration wrapping itself in a fresco at Venice. But apparently not.
In Italy, a country with a deep cultural heritage, the fine arts are the final refuge from a philistine tendency that affects everyday life with an alarming pervasiveness. Yet it appears that the systemic contradictions which plague the Italian political and cultural sphere - and which serve to keep the powerful grinning their stricken grins - have now invaded the fine arts.
Instead, Watson maintains the notion of art as a "refuge from," a world apart from the [real] world. Watson says this philistine affront occupying "the centre of the most prominent cultural event in the art world's calendar," demands "an appropriate response." But what? A sternly worded petition? Some scathingly derisive remarks over dinner in Basel? Art world folks can tweet their outrage all they want, but when the smoke from Sgarbi's stinkbomb of a show clears, they'll still be inside their gilded
The Physiognomy of a Nation [frieze]