Friday, May 20, 2011

The Branding of Iconogrphy: Making a career out of branding things already made by others

In the previous post I attempted to articulate how the artist  Haroshi has taken a pop culture icon like the Mac “Apple” and turned the idea of iconography inside out by attempting to overvalue the iconic image through the artwork  itself. I think he’s successful and makes an otherwise everyday icon brand into something with more inherent value. His comment on iconography is more meaningful then the image he attempts to copy, thus creating transformative iconography. But then there is this:
Southern California artist Daniel Douke (pronounced doo-kay) not to be confused with Dookie or Robin Williams’ comic genius concerning Gucci branding turds by painting three red strips on them for the wealthy class to salivate over .  However, turds do fall into various shades of brown and at times beige, so they could be accessorized with most clothing items.  Trendy art goers can wear it and  drink  it while gleaning pretentiously over  manufactured dookie or the co-opted branding of 3rd world nation children with guns.
Portriat of a Young Libertarian by Shepard Fairey

Not only will we take a look at Douke's refinery, but also it is "Critique the Critic Day" @upstArt . Today's write up is by Victoria Dalkey (pronounced doll-key) not to be comfused with Douke.
”Since the 1970s, Douke has been making boxes and industrial objects that fool the eye into thinking they are real rather than meticulously rendered trompe l'oeil artworks. “ 

iMac by Douke

Basically by placing his work in a gallery/ museum, the public is thus trompe l’oeiled into thinking it is “art” rather than an object to be placed into the recycle bin once you have set up your imac.  The phrase “trompe l'oeil” is used here to elevate something that is far from interesting, or in other words refined puffery.  Just saying “real looking” doesn’t allow for the kind of elitist pastiche art critics are loved for. Without refined puffery and well, French words, any run of the mill community college student that took an art history class can make a living as an art critic. I’m all for adaptive reuse and minimizing my foot print though, so save the box and use it for a receptacle for your cat dookie.


Notice that the only place you’ll see this version of an imac is actually in a dumpster. Ironically and sadly, this “art” of co-opted branding is now fawned over while the original and once useful object has now been rendered obsolete in our ever tech obsessed world.  So is the artwork obsolete?
“Unfortunately, a lot of people simply walk into the room and walk right out without examining these objects carefully.”
 Or perhaps they are, and they know how irrelevant a counterfeit object is among the already mundaness of their lives. So the answer is yes.
“As artists such as Andy Warhol and Karen Shapiro have done, Douke elevates common commercial objects to the realm of art, reminding us that they are products of designers that epitomize our time.” 

“The degree of verisimilitude that Douke achieves is truly miraculous.”
Yes indeed stupefying. Is Douke like Warhol before him, the god of commodification and monetary profit? But how truthful is it to take a product that has already been vetted as marketable to the public, and then try to recommodify that product for your own personal gain in order to fool people? It’s quality branding and advertising, but is it “art?” Is it an ode to the actual designer?  I don't think so. I’d rather see an actual imac box in original condition under a plexi case with a statement from the original designers of the box. I want to know their ideas and their reasons for design.
 “Challenging our assumptions about reality and artifice, Douke's marvelously rendered "Boxes" epitomize our era and the development of electronic devices that promise a "utopian" future that ironically is profit-motivated.”
I know the main market force that persuaded me to buy into the “utopian” movement of Mac products was certainly to obtain a “utopian” standard of living with free pizza and rivers of flowing Pabst. 
A Warholian paean to hipsters

In reality, I happily traded over my hard earned dollars hoping that I was buying art that would only increase in value, but I got stuck with a constant discharge in battery power and a crappy internets connection. Yet, how ironic is it that a consumer product would demand profit? Furthermore, is it ironic to assume that art by Warhol, Koons and even Douke is  created to deliver a “Utopian” future and do we need it fêted with dead celebutants in hyper color,  balloon animals and  iMac boxes? I want that Utopia, thank god I can get it at any street corner MOMA.

But I'm a consumer and I want a utopia that is simultaniously product minded, eco freindly utilitarian and could be outfitted in every MOMA.  Thank god the genious of Marcel Duchamp lives on.  I give you the  R. Mutt that epitomizes our time, how we spend it and how we value art.
iPottie by Marcel Duchamp
 Lean to shuffle.

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