Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s


Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden


Video Title:
Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s

“Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s” takes us back to the iconic decade when artwork became a commodity and the artist, a brand. The exhibition features nearly 70 pioneering artists – including Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Julia Wachtel, and the Guerrilla Girls – who have subverted and embraced the collision of art and commerce that emerged in the 1980s. Select major installations will be recreated for the first time in 30 years, including seminal works by Gretchen Bender, Barbara Bloom, and Krzysztof Wodiczko. “Brand New” offers a fascinating alternative history of art in the 1980s by tracing how a pioneering group of young downtown artists appropriated the tools and psychology of growing consumer culture—advertising, logos, products, even cable TV—to change the landscape of the art world. Manufactured objects, such as vacuum cleaners and clocks, became vessels with complex meanings. Advertising and television emerged as rich new mediums for expression, and artworks themselves became branded products. Like today’s celebrity influencers, artists crafted branded personas to both market themselves and as a form of creative expression. Year by year, "Brand New" parallels major artistic developments with corresponding events that shaped the ’80s, such as the introduction of MTV, Reaganomics, financial crisis, gentrification, and height of the AIDS crisis. View the ’80s in a new light with an exhibition that puts a magnifying glass to the blurred lines of then and today. FEB 14- MAY 13, 2018 Image credits: Jessica Diamond “T.V. Telepathy (Black and White Version)” 1989. Courtesy the artist. © Jessica Diamond Barbara Kruger “Untitled (I shop therefore I am),” 1987. Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Maryland. © Barbara Kruger. Courtesy Mary Boone Gallery, New York. Jeff Koons “New! New Too!” 1983. © Jeff Koons Ken Lum “Alex Gonzalez Loves his Mother and Father” 1989. Courtesy the artist. Photo by Witte de with Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam David Wojnarowicz “USDA Choice Beef” 1985. Courtesy the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P•P•O•W, New York. ©The Estate of David Wojnarowicz Haim Steinbach “Shelf with Ajax” 1981. Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York Guerrilla Girls, photo by Andrew Hindraker Krzysztof Wodiczko “Homeless Vehicle in New York City,” 1988-89. © Krzysztof Wodiczko. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York ACT UP (Gran Fury) “SILENCE = DEATH,” 1987. Courtesy New Museum, New York. William Olander Memorial Fund Ashley Bickerton “Tormented Self-Portrait (Susie at Arles) No.2” 1988. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong John Dogg “John, Not Johnny” 1987. Collection of Adam Lindemann. Courtesy Venus over Manhattan Sarah Charlesworth “Golden Boy” 1983-84. Courtesy of the Estate of Sarah Charlesworth and Maccarone, NY/LA Donald Moffett “He Kills Me” 1987. Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen. © Donald Moffett GENERAL IDEA “The Boutique of the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion,” 1980. Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Courtesy Esther Schipper, Berlin

Video Duration:
46 sec