Dan Graham on Magazine Advertisements

by Art Fag City on August 24, 2009 Blurb

The following note on advertisements comes from The Whitney’s catalog produced in conjunction with conceptual artist Dan Graham’s current show at the museum.

The advertisement makes public — publicizes — a private need and, as a consequence, shifts categories of this relation. “INCOME (OUTFLOW)” through this alteration, effects the larger homeostatic balance of my life.

The advertisement functions as ‘exposure’.
There is a relation of a public figure’s private ‘piece’ to public exposure or the reverse (as in “likes” were the spectator exposes his private needs).

-1969 notes

This isn’t the clearest writing I’ve ever read, but the observations I actually understand strike me as very specific to their time. For example, I’m not convinced web advertising adheres to the making-public private-needs model.  While gmail might offer up advertisements for toe fungus treatment, it does so only when I sign into my account. Unlike a magazine, it keeps a private need private.

But then again, even pre-web needs don’t all meet the criteria of this model.  Was smoking a cigarette ever a private need?  Does advertising make it public? Does the spectator expose his private needs when looking at the ad?  My money says no.

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