Magazine article Marketing

Why 'Advertising as Art' Sells Both Disciplines Short

Magazine article Marketing

Why 'Advertising as Art' Sells Both Disciplines Short

Article excerpt

Is advertising art?

This burning question has been prompted by the poster exhibition now at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and by the John Gilroy exhibition (he of the classic Guinness posters) which recently opened in Newcastle and comes to London's Royal College of Art in about six weeks' time.

To most clients the very question 'Is advertising art?' will make their toes curl. Of course it isn't art. It is a business activity which exists to sell things. It has - or rather should have - nothing to do with 'art'.

And yet here are two leading galleries holding major exhibitions of advertising as art. And about a decade ago an important exhibition of advertising as art was held in both New York and Paris. (Sadly, it didn't come to London). Many fine artists have produced advertisements, and old advertisements often go for sizeable sums at art auctions.

So the world believes some advertising is art. The reviews of the V&A posters appeared on the arts pages, written by arts critics. And a lot of the greatest modern artists claim to be emulating advertising techniques. Clients may snarl, but if everyone else thinks advertising is art, surely that's the end of the argument?

Well this may plunge me deep into the mire with the creative fraternity, but I do not think for one minute that advertising is art. And the V&A show demonstrates why, as will the Gilroy exhibition. Both are very well worth visiting. Though interestingly, few creatives seem to have hurried on down to the V&A yet, if my acquaintances are typical. …

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