Pay-per-view art

Working in the arts, I know all too well how hard it is (for some of us, anyway) to operate in this emaciated arts-funding climate. So why does the exhibition "Sponsorship"--a show comprised entirely of corporate logos--currently up at Shepard Fairey's LA gallery BlkMrkt, bother me so? Probably because I suspect its motives: in neo-uber-hipster fashion, it uses an ironic self-referential critique of corporate patronage to cover for what's ultimately a mad dash for cash. The show features logos of companies like Levi's, AOL, and Kinko's as well as smaller skateboard-related companies who paid for the privilege of being included. The opening, by the way, was so successful the fire marshall had to shut it down. And maybe that--the fact that the idea's a bit tired, but still has the power to pack 'em in--is what irks me. Still, you've gotta give Shepard credit: at least he's honest.

Read Rob Walker's take on the show in Slate.

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