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When You’ve Done Everything Else, Project Your Logo on a Museum

Let's get the Hell Gate logo up there. Plus, more links.

(Jean-Christophe Benoist / Wikicommons)

New Yorkers may not be able to reel off the top of our heads what's going on at the major museums, but aesthetically, the major museums of New York make sure to carve out footprints in the skyline, too, demanding that we visually check in with them every time we pass: there's the Guggenheim's space-age Beyblade, there's the Whitney's whole thing.

So what better place for a giant, free advertisement?

On Thursday, ad copy for "COWBOY CARTER," an upcoming album from Beyoncé, was projected on the facades of the Guggenheim and the Whitney, as well as the New Museum and the Museum of Art and Design.

The messages the ads were sending were muddled. It wasn't immediately clear how the ads, which displayed the "COWBOY CARTER" cover art and release date (March 29), as well as the quote, "This ain’t a country album. This is a 'Beyoncé' album" relate to the institutions they were projected on, if they do at all: The museums typically feature visual art rather than albums of any kind.

Art museums serve as a kind of cultural town square. Perhaps because they're a nexus where both the elevated ideal of artistic accomplishment and the inescapable financial realities that constrict art are forced to co-exist: a Sackler wing for feminist art here, a Bank of America partnership there. They're thus the sites of sometimes paradigm-shifting acts of protest that even become their own kind of performance art

The Guggenheim, in a statement to ArtNews, said that the museum "was not informed about and did not authorize this activation."

As if the spokesperson writing the statement began to hear buzzing in the distance, gulped and then tugged on their collar, the statement then continued: "However, we invite the public—including Beyoncé and her devoted fans—to visit the museum May 16–20 when we present projections by artist Jenny Holzer on the facade of our iconic building to celebrate the opening of her major exhibition."

So, apparently Beyoncé's team was able to secure the presumably high-powered projectors required to legibly present giant text on all these buildings, and that's all it took to run an ad campaign on New York's most famous facades. That's… interesting. You're telling me, hypothetically, all that's between the Hell Gate logo and an ad on the face of the Guggenheim is a presumably very expensive piece of equipment or someone willing to loan it to us?


These links are fascinating too:

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