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NYC Artists Launch Campaign to Replace Ads with Art

Art in Ad Places, a fifty-two-week campaign that will replace outdoor advertisements around New York City with art, launched on Wednesday, January 4, reports Carey Dunne of Hyperallergic.

Each week, organizers Caroline Caldwell and RJ Rushmore will partner with a different artist to install artworks at telephone kiosks. The first collaboration, with artist Adam Wallacavage, is now on view at a kiosk located at Metropolitan Avenue and Lorimer Street in Brooklyn. Other artists creating work for the campaign include Molly Crabapple, Jon Burgerman, John Fekner, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Tod Seelie, Cheryl Pope, and Jeffrey Gibson.

Caldwell was inspired to start the project after seeing an ad for a $1,000 Brazilian butt lift outside of her Brooklyn apartment last spring. She said, “I laughed it off at first, but the billboard was designed to make me feel self-conscious, and I got tired of it. I became determined to fill my life with art that would make people feel anything else.”

Rushmore added, “We’re disturbed by the way that advertising makes people feel inadequate or privileges certain types of messages and people over others. Consuming advertising is unhealthy, and with outdoor advertising, there’s no way to opt out, except to remove it.”

The campaign’s name references another art project called Art in Odd Places, whose mission is to present visual and performance art in unexpected public spaces. Caldwell and Rushmore originally planned to launch earlier in 2016 but postponed due to the shock of the presidential election results. Caldwell said that the campaign is not anti-Trump but believes their work is now more important since “Trump’s popularity is linked to outdoor advertising’s language of violence, body shaming, and unattainable luxury.”

Art in Ad Places will announce new artworks for the initiative on social media as well as on the project’s website.