From Idolatry to Advertising: Visual Art and Contemporary Culture

By Susan G. Josephson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Advertising

ADVERTISING ART IS SURELY the most common form of art we see today. We see it on billboards, the walls of stores, in magazines, in newspapers, and on television. Advertisements are everywhere. Advertisements are the most contemporary art form, always being updated. Whereas the Popular Art images we see are often several years old and the Fine Art images we see are often hundreds of years old, advertisements tend to be only months or weeks old. Advertisements play for a few weeks or months and then are changed. In the advertisements people are shown looking completely contemporary wearing fashionable winter clothes in the winter, and fashionable summer clothes in the summer.

Advertising's goal is to cause us to act. It promotes something and asks us to spend money, practice safe sex, or reelect a congressman. The power of advertising is strong in Western culture. Advertising uses both the power of Popular Art as well as that of Design Art to shape people's desires and commitments. It is used to give us vicarious experiences as well as to package products and shape the consumer's personal identity.

Advertisements as we know them today didn't start until after the 1880s. Before that, the manufacturers and shops put out product announcements, but these were mostly information, not persuasion. Advertising as we have it today really depends upon the existence of a mass

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From Idolatry to Advertising: Visual Art and Contemporary Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • List of Illustrations xiii
  • Chapter 1 The Cultural-Niche Theory of Art 1
  • Chapter 2 The Fine Art Cultural Niche 41
  • Chapter 3 The Popular Art Cultural Niche 80
  • Chapter 4 The Design Art Cultural Niche 115
  • Chapter 5 Advertising 152
  • Chapter 6 The Media and the Rebirth of Mythic Culture 183
  • Bibliography 225
  • Index 233
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