From the Comments

David from MetBlog LA writes:

I think this is going to come down to free speech issues, because if this guy can’t set up these ads, folks like Banksy and other guerrilla artists could also be held liable.
You can’t convict someone for doing something people took the wrong way. There has to be intent, or negligence… and what was he negligent for? From what I’ve seen, these LED units looked like lighting fixtures, and nothing like a bomb.

I replied:


I hope it doesn’t come down to free speech issues: the way I look at it is that it’s a piece of advertisement, not art, and I always feel weird when something with a distinct commercial objective takes on the language and supposed objectives of a Happening.

But maybe I’m wrong about Happenings, and should look at it as a piece of graffiti: is this just vandalism, then?

Your thoughts?

4 Comments so far

  1. jon (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 12:11 pm

    its indeed art, that happens to be bankrolled by a corporation.

    so the ULTIMATE commercial objective is to bring money to turner broadcasting. Evan, are you implying that this is why the actual shows on adult swim were created, however?

    or even that the folk who create the advertisements solely had commercial interests in mind? i would think that they thought what they were doing was “cool”, or “art”, and not strictly “commercial”.

    of course this is kinda bringin up the debate (art vs. commerce) that’ll rage on forever…:)


  2. David Markland (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 7:42 pm

    Probably not vandalism, as it doesn’t damage the surroundings. Its magnetic. The reason they’re placed so high is to keep people from just taking them. So, maybe a nuisance to remove.

    But vandalism would be an entirely different charge than posing terrorist threat. We have a guy in LA who tosses these wooden cutouts of birds over lightpoles and electric lines at intersections. They’re easily removable, and a nuisance to remove. But vandalism? Not sure.

  3. evan (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 8:12 pm

    Wooden cutouts? What’s his name?

    The only reason I said ‘vandalism’ was because I was thinking of how it wasn’t put there with permission.

    And, Jon, good point, but you can’t deny the commercial function of something like this: it’s an iconic image mass produced to point someone’s attention elsewhere.

    Though you are right about this potentially raging on. A cordial hat-tip to you, sir.

  4. jack haas (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 11:20 pm

    oh, come effin on, advertising is (commercial) art! and as such is protected by the first amendment. who cares if attention is grabbed and redirected? like “normal” art doesn’t do that? like “normal” art is free of commercial bullshit? it isn’t. never has been. trying to separate high art from low art completely misses the point of art. art is expression, nothing more, nothing less. and your problem with “distinct commercial objectives” is just that, your problem. quit being a categorizing sap.

    boston, we are so laughing at you.

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