Category: Incisive Reportage

Adbusting: New Firefox plug-in replaces ads with art.
Before: The Guardian‘s art and architecture blog page with advertising.
After: That same page with art. So soothing!

How to put it delicately? Advertising sucks. And thankfully, there are mad-genius artist types in the universe who are working on dealing with this scourge. Brooklyn-based artist Steve Lambert, a senior fellow at Eyebeam, has, for the past year, been developing a Firefox plug-in that replaces Internet advertising with images of art.

The widget is based on a popular ad-blocking software, with added layers of coding that allow websurfers to see art rather than ads. Lambert, who has worked on other anti-advertising projects in the past, including Budget Gallery in California, and the Anti-Advertising Agency in NYC, came up with the idea three years ago. But he didn’t begin serious work on the project until about a year ago, when he got the hackers at Eyebeam to help write code. (Here’s the list of people who have contributed to the project.) In addition to the Eyebeam folk, other tech types have also been involved. “I’ve had groups of people get together every week or two weeks and we have pizza and beer and work on this,” explains Lambert. “There’s a guy at Bank of America who works during the day but then he comes over at night. He really has a great spirit about it.”

The plug-in is still in the beta stages, but I’ve been testing it out for several days and am happy to report that it kicks ass. (All of the screengrabs in this post are from my websurfing travails.) Seven out of ten times, the widget, formally known as Add-Art, effectively replaces all advertising with images of art. At other times, it just leaves ad spaces blank. The art, unfortunately, does not click through to an arts site. But no matter, Add-Art vastly improves the visuals on any websurfing experience. Ultimately, Lambert is seeking to create up-to-date galleries by guest curators that will be rotated in and out of selection every two weeks. “Right now, the plug-in replaces most ads and sometimes it leaves things blank,” he says. “But that’s fine with me. At least you’re not seeing ads.” Hallelujah to that.

Lambert will formally “unveil” the plug-in next Thursday, May 22nd, at 7:30 p.m., at the New Museum. In the meantime, you can download Add-Art here.

Click on images to supersize. More before-and-after pairings after the jump.

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Joke going around Baghdad.

Pay phone
(Photo by C-M.)

Heard this from an Iraqi acquaintance who lives in Baghdad:

An American, a Brit and an Iraqi arrive in hell. The American goes to the pay phone and calls his family in the United States. He talks for 15 minutes. Satan charges him $10 million for the call because “it’s long distance.” The American grudgingly pays. The Brit makes a phone call to his family in England. The same charges apply: $10 million. Finally, the Iraqi goes to the phone and calls his family in Baghdad. He talks for hours — to everyone he knows. After he hangs up, he asks Satan, “How much?”

Satan replies: “Five dollars.”

The Iraqi says, “How can that be? I talked for hours.”

Satan says: “Hell-to-hell. It’s a local call.”

Posted by C-Monster.

Colt 45, the smooth, refreshing hipster beverage.

Tastes like crap, more filling. (Photo by C-M.)

Last night, while flipping through Juxtapoz‘s May photo issue, I came across the above ad for Colt 45. We’re a little slow on the uptake here at, and had no idea that the famed malt liquor brand was now marketing itself to hipsters. But lo and behold, there it was, in the pages of an art magazine. This, of course, begs the question: what are the requisites of selling a grody-tasting beer-like product to all those trend-making young influentials? C-Monster investigated, and came up with these four essential rules:

Marketing Lesson #1:
Put the word “Yo” in front of anything and it’ll sound street. And street=cool.

Notice the fine print on the bottom right of the ad: Yo, enjoy our frosty malt beverage responsibly! See how easy that was? Now you try it. Here are a few examples to help you along: “Yo, hand me the organic peanut butter” or “Yo, I can’t go out because my parents haven’t sent me my monthly allowance yet” or, if you want to switch things around: “My stock portfolio is taking a beating, yo.” See how easy it is? Now do this while holding a 40 and you’ll have serious street cred.

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Statement from Shepard Fairey re. the Cease & Desist Letter.

Johnie's Restaurant
Johnie’s Coffee Shop in L.A., with Obey Giant poster. Photo by S:U:P:E:R:M:O:D.

This morning I linked to a story on Animal New York regarding a cease and desist letter that Shepard Fairey’s studio had reportedly sent to a Texas artist that allegedly infringed on his trademark Obey Giant image. A comment on the blog (and plenty of whispering on the Internet) have intimated that the story of a cease and desist letter is untrue. That is not the case. Fairey did send a letter to the artist in question. This is the statement he just released on the subject:

To all concerned:

Baxter Orr was sent a cease and desist letter by Obey Giant in regards to his use of the Obey “Icon Face” graphic. This graphic is a registered trademark and I selectively enforce this trademark based on the nature of the infringement. Frequently I do not respond negatively to parodies of Obey because I feel the artist doing the parody is philosophically aligned with Obey and parody is a valid part of pop culture dialog. I use parody and tribute often in my own work, so I obviously believe there is value to both. I have also had to deal with legal entanglements over the use of appropriated imagery and its interpretation as parody or infringement. Parody Vs. infringement is obviously an issue with many subtleties and grey areas. Referencing existing imagery is a risk every pop artist takes from Warhol to Koons to myself to Mr. Orr. Most of my pop art, fortunately, has been positively received by those being referenced, and many subjects have even commissioned authorized collaborations after seeing my tribute. Orr’s infringement is being pursued more because of his all around exploitative tendencies and foul nature rather than the seriousness of this specific infringement. I’m generally very tolerant of this sort of thing, but this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Orr has been repeatedly revealed for selling Obey Giant prints on ebay which I have a policy against. I sell my prints under market value to insure that true fans of my work can acquire a print at a reasonable price. Orr has used pseudonyms and other shady tactics to get prints and sell them on ebay. Orr has been kicked off of an Obey Giant fan site for shady dealings. He has also made enemies with an Obey secondary market dealer for being untrustworthy. Orr is the type of bottom feeder who is often able to thrive because no one wants to take the time to deal with him. As you can see, he has tried to turn this present issue into publicity for himself. The resources it may require for me to pursue him will be much greater than any lost revenue from his print. I’m pursuing this out of principal. I have principals and Orr does not. A gross over-simplification of the situation could lead a lazy person to think that I’m a hypocrite for pursuing Orr because, in basic terms, we both use reinterpreted appropriated imagery. The key difference is in our motivations and my willingness to take responsibility for the things I do.

Shepard Fairey
Founder & Creative
Studio Number One

Posted by C-Monster.

Monster tits!

Great tits.
A pair of great tits. Photo by dudley72.

One of the beauties of having the Statcounter widget embedded on this site is that it allows us to see which search terms leads people to C-Monster. Especially popular are: Spencer Tunick, Neckface, Damien Hirst and Ghost, not necessarily in that order.

One of the more unusual terms to regularly brings browsers to the site, however, (and on more occasions than we’d care to admit) is the phrase “monster tits.” It’s easy to understand why: Monster is part of the site’s name and we have been known, on occasion, to utter the word tits (purely for high art purposes, of course). But since we don’t want to disappoint all of those adolescent boys with Internet connections, C-Monster hereby presents: a pair of great tits. Enjoy!

Posted by C-Monster.

Ten tips for making art that will last forever. Or at least a couple of years.

William Pope L.
Pop Tart of Evil: William Pope L.’s moldy toaster pastry on display at Volta.

Wandering around the art fairs this past weekend, we were struck (as usual) by the preponderance of pieces made with materials such as cardboard, pills, urban detritus, Pop Tarts (see above), and that most venerated of contemporary art material combinations: the animal carcass in formaldehyde—all of which seem to already be in some state of decay. Now, far be it from us to ever tell an artist what materials to use when making art. (We do love the idea of lard and tapioca being on exhibit at major museums). But don’t try to kid us into thinking that this stuff is gonna be around in a hundred years—like the gallerist we met at an art fair in Miami during Basel, who told us, with utmost earnestness, that the installation made of pizza we were admiring wasn’t going to rot because “it has a coating sprayed on it.”

In the interest of helping artists (and their fabricators) create pieces that last longer than five minutes, we have consulted with top scientific experts in the field of conservation, and produced a handy list of the top ten things to keep in mind when makin’ art.

Get the lowdown after the jump.

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It’s a Broad, Broad, Broad, Broad World.

Jeff Koons area
Opening day in the Koons corner at the brand-spanking-new Broad Contemporary Art Museum in sunny Southern California.

Spent all day Sunday—yes, all day, from 10 to 4—going from Broad event to Broad event to celebrate the opening of BCAM. The morning began with a visit to the recently re-installed Broad Art Foundation in Santa Monica. This is usually a hard ticket to get. But this year it was easier, because the hard ticket to get was an invite to the Sunday lunch at BCAM. Thankfully, we got into both. (And, sadly, Tom Cruise was at neither.)

Money shots and blow-by-blow after the jump. As always, click on images to see them large.

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How to preserve a chocolate Santa butt-plug.

Objects in Transition
At the Object in Transition panel at the Getty Center in L.A.: Paul McCarthy (far left) discusses the sheep plug that hangs over his head like a dagger. “The dark stuff is hair,” he said. We hope he means wool. (Photo by San Suzie.)

A who’s who of contemporary art conservation gathered at the Getty Center last night to hear Rachel Harrison, Doris Salcedo, Paul McCarthy (the man who brought the world the chocolate Santa butt-plug), curator Elizabeth Sussman (of Gordon Matta-Clark, You Are the Measure fame) and conservator Christian Scheidemann talk about conservation and contemporary art. Harrison discussed the problem of removing cobwebs from chicken beaks and replacing cans of exploded grape soda. McCarthy pondered the aging of ketchup. In between, Salcedo bummed everyone out with a long discourse on the meaning of the concentration camp in modern society as expressed by her installation Neither. Scheidemann, who has worked extensively with all of the panelists (as well as Robert Gober, Matthew Barney, and the late Jason Rhoades), repeatedly exclaimed, “The artist is always right!” But if the artist makes a piece out of some unstable, melt-able compound that freaks out at the slightest variation in temperature, how “right” are they?

Find out how to preserve your chocolate butt-plug after the jump.

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