Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I was surprised - as we applied ourselves in class today to thinking about the visual culture of Los Angeles - that no one looked at what I think of as the visual vernacular, despite the prompts that are there in Reyner Banham, or in the piece from David Henkin's lovely City Reading - about writing on the streets - on posters and fliers - in ante-bellum New York.  Here's another quick grab from my journey home: I have a special love of the really bad paintings of products on store fronts.  Admittedly these aren't as spectacularly untalented as some - whoever painted these had a working knowledge of perspective - but they belong to a very identifiable genre, in which, somehow, everyday products are made even more everyday by the amateur hand that represents them.  So what's the knock on effect of them as advertisements?  How do such images mediate the very obvious domain of the mass-manufactured commodity?  What's gained by the fact that we're not exactly dealing, here, with an indexical photograph?  You can tell this is the sandwich night between two teaching days: all I can do is ask questions.

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