Dean O'Brien's Blog

350mc talk: From patron to consumer. The aesthetic effect of money

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Todays talk was something which effects us all. Money.  Regardless of our opinion on the matter, it is something that we all depend on to function on a day to day basis.

The talk started with a discussion around how money had influenced the production of some of the earliest paintings.  How those who produced them and purchased them viewed themselves.  Their financial status and pedigree was reflected in such pieces.  Yes, consumption and greed was alive and well even back then.

Many of us are only too aware that we surround ourselves with items to give us our identity.  We are influenced by adverts which constantly bombard us with visual messages.  Messages of how we can, should or indeed, ‘could’ look.

Richard Hamilton and Andy Warhol turned these consumer brands into to works of art.  Although many people are familiar with their works of art I wonder how many understand the narrative behind the pieces.  The message which is almost too blatant and obvious.  I can’t remember who stated that ‘There are none so blind as those that can see’.

I found the images created by Daniela Rossell from her series ‘Rich and Famous’ to be the most intriguing.  They are images of the very rich in Mexico who have had their images taken exactly as they wish to be seen.  Although often showing off extravagant wealth, they are themselves prisoners.  Imprisoned by their wealth and financial trappings.  Slaves to the idea that possessions make you who you are.

Too sum this up in a nutshell Andy Warhol stated ‘What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it’.


Written by Dean O'Brien

October 25, 2011 at 5:34 pm

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