Can Shopping Count as Art? Or Is This Guy Just Pompous? Can Shopping Count as Art? Or Is This Guy Just Pompous?
Design

Can Shopping Count as Art? Or Is This Guy Just Pompous?

by Alex Goldmark

June 6, 2011
Seem pompous and silly? It is. And McDonald knows it, at least the silly part.
The humble storefront is frequently fodder for art, as workshop, as venue, or more engagingly with shopdropping, as a point of subversion or disruptive "consumer mutineering." McDonald's expertise though, isn't in commentary or statement, it's in experimenting as guinea pig, and in executing absurdity. He did, after all, barter his way from a red paperclip to a house, a wonderful exercise in exploiting scarcity.

He describes this project, 'Bodega Boutique, the art of convenience' as an "adventure in how value can be created or perceived." Can something worth $1 in Hercules Fancy Grocery fetch $400 a few blocks away—and if so, why? That's the experiment. If it works, it will be slightly depressing to think that society values McDonald's can of coke 400 times more than humble Hercules'. But at the same time, the project does raise a valid question: What adds value to a good?

Public policy planners would love to more precisely assess how much value is added to a product each time it is bought, modified, and sold, mainly so they can tax it. And while art may be a special case, McDonald is selling consumer products you can get anywhere. The only thing the buyer gets is the story, the narrative, the experience. If anyone bites, we'll get to see how much those intangibles are worth.

Via Viveca.

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Can Shopping Count as Art? Or Is This Guy Just Pompous?