Tuesday, December 04, 2012

T.J.Clark Lecture

The Annunciation- Carl Heinrich Bloch, 1865.

West Cigarettes ad campaign in the former East Germany circa 1992. 

Art historian, TJ Clark, gave a talk November 30th at the University of Chicago on art and capitalism. During his talk, he described the advertisements he saw in the former east Germany around 1992, shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall, for West Cigarettes. Some of the ads featured a cool looking young black guy offering a cigarette to a ghost with the caption, "Test the West." He compared this ad to The Annunciation by Carl Heinrich Bloch. TJ didn't offer any hard proof that the ad men behind the Test the West campaign were thinking of or aware of The Annunciation of Christ imagery, but the comparison was so visually compelling and so charmingly presented that it didn't matter if there was any intention there or not. That is the trick that makes Clark's experimental writing so interesting and so readable.

Someone's vacation photo-- the only image of the Test the West ad that I could find that features the young, cool black guy and the ghost.