I don’t think that the widespread adoption of street art by viral marketers has killed street art any more than I think that commercials using rock ‘n’ roll songs has killed rock ‘n’ roll. But the practice does draw attention to the disappearance of the gap between “art” and “product,” which artists like Shepard Fairey still insist is there (even though it was gone before he sold his first OBEY T-shirt). And it might raise some interesting questions about street-art-as-commerce and/or street-art-as-an-advertisement-for-itself, if there were any interesting questions left in that area.
Pink Floyd cofounder and world-class cunt Roger Waters recently hired a viral marketing group to promote his upcoming re-revival of the live Wall experience by wheat-pasting ads, which feature a fifth-rate Banksy knockoff stencil of a soldier and a quote from Dwight Eisenhower, all over walls in New York and LA. Because there’s nothing that the young tastemakers who are presumably the target of such a “guerrilla-style” marketing campaign enjoy more than throwing large bills at grandpas performing turgid, self-important rock operas, and there’s nothing baby boomers like more than destroying property values with greed-fueled schemes. Great plan. Works on two levels.
Anyhow, one of the walls in Los Angeles that these daring marketers plastered happened to be outside Solutions Audio in Echo Park. It’s the same wall that Elliott Smith’s standing in front of on the cover of Figure 8, and since his death it’s become a shrine to his memory.