Archive for May, 2008

Genius

Posted in personal with tags , , on May 18, 2008 by barryshapiro

Albert Einstein, to this day considered by most people in the world to be the most brilliant human who ever walked the planet, was a devoted pacifist and abhorred the idea of conflict. At the outset of WWl in 1914 he co-authored a petition entitled “Appeal To The Cultured World” which, among other things called for the formation of an international body to resolve disputes among nations (predating the League of Nations and the UN). Interestingly, he also felt that war was a distinctively male trait. In a letter to a friend he wrote “What drives people to kill and maim each other so savagely? I think it is the sexual character of the male that leads to such wild explosions.”

I wonder why Hillary hasn’t caught on to this yet? Imagine the campaign slogan: Trust Albert, vote Hillary! Anyhow, he was probably on to something and as much as I hate to admit it, most of the world’s problems could be easily solved if the solutions were left to women. I am not a feminist; I never did like Phil Donahue. But I believe that women have a way of looking at contentious issues that men just cannot.

There are a lot of powerful women out there and many of them have moved into positions of influence in media industries. In advertising, design, film, TV and theater there are amazing women at every turn. There are many powerful women in politics too but it seems when they get into positions of power they start to resemble the men and lose their feminine sense of reason.

We need some of the women in advertising to start running for office. It will have two positive effects. First, it will eliminate some of the gas bags we have in office now. Second, it will create more available jobs for men in advertising.

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Rauschenberg’s Bed

Posted in art with tags , , , on May 18, 2008 by barryshapiro

I was driving north on I-95 last week when I heard that Robert Rauschenberg, one of the greatest artistic minds of this century, passed on. It immediately brought back memories from the 70’s when I still traveled the NY art scene. I only met him twice, in passing, but his work had a profound impact on me and just about every other artist in America at the time.

I immediately called my friend Rick Daniels so we could reminisce. Rick knew Rauschenberg better than I and in fact knew the whole Castelli artist group pretty well. We were Pratt students trying to be cool and hovering around the art scene and some of our friends had managed to get jobs at Castelli’s gallery.  One of them was Charlie Yoder who eventually became Rauschenberg’s assistant. Charlie was from Maine, and the tallest guy I knew. He was a talented guy in his own right and kind of funny.

My best Rauschenberg memory actually doesn’t include Rauschenberg at all. He was at his studio on Captiva Island in Florida and the guy who was caretaker for his building in Manhattan was away on vacation so Charlie was house sitting. Rauschenberg owned this building on Lafayette Street which had originally been built as an orphanage. It was a great big old place and included half of an old church. The orphanage was originally in back of the church but when people began to move out of the neighborhood they cut the church property in half and tore down half the church for a parking lot. The back of the church that was attached to Rauschenberg’s building was still there.  So the church piece became Rauschenberg’s private chapel-gallery-whatever space.

Anyhow, I was hanging out there with Charlie and some friends and we were having a pretty good time. I mean this was Robert Rauschenberg’s freakin’ house and we had the run of the place.  It wasn’t like he had a lot of his stuff there, though we did see some new prints. It was, for me, the idea of it. I am sitting in the house of a legend, getting stoned and thinking “how cool am I?”

I went down to the church when no one else was around and sat in the middle of the floor. This was, for me, one of those seminal moments. I felt like this space could be mine and I knew that I wanted to absorb the good energy. I knew I wanted to be an artist.

The other great Rauschenberg moment for me was when I was invited to the Castelli’s apartment and there in the living room, on a wall by one of the bedrooms, was Rauschenberg’s “Bed”. If you don’t know what I am referring to, if you think I literally mean a bed, then you need to bone up on your contemporary art history. Well, it was a bed in a way. It was a breakthrough work I had only seen in pictures and there it was. I didn’t truly understand it in the moment but it gave me a thrill and forced me to think about what my artistic expression would be about in the future. Forced me to push myself to new ways of thinking. I realized that being an artist could be that kind of fun.

I have read many of the eulogies in the paper and on the net and all I can say is I’m glad I met him.

Guoleifsdottirsize yourself

Posted in marketing with tags , , , on May 2, 2008 by barryshapiro

The big news today is that Google will be selling ads on TV, as well as radio and print, which they’ve been doing for a while. So long to all those small market media buyers from New Jersey to Nevada, from Portland to Port St. Lucie. It was nice doing business with you.

As we move more and more into the global-digital age, innovative companies like Google will become mega stores for just about everything. And as the technology becomes more sophisticated there will be less and less need for expensive, specialized media conglomerates like ad agencies and media companies. Just think: you wake up with an idea for a product. Rather than actually making the product, you run to the computer and create a graphic model of the concept. With Photoshop and Illustrator you create advertising for the product and with Dreamweaver you create a salespage for the web. You call up Bank of America and set up a merchant account. 4 or 5 hours later you use the same material to create a 30 second spot and you link up to google where you but air time on Family Guy and The Simpsons. 24 hours after you woke with your big idea you are taking in millions from people buying a product that exists only in your head. Here is the future.

I just read where an Icelandic art student named Rebekka Guoleifsdottir had inadvertently created a career for herself as a photographer by loading hundreds of images onto the site flickr.com. Using basically snapshots, before graduating to a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT, and by incorporating Photoshop into her skill set, this creative but relatively inexperienced artist has just landed a commission from Toyota to shoot a print campaign for the Prius. It seems that the age of the professional artist/artisan is over and the age of the experimental, adventurous amateur has begun.

Who needs an ad agency? For that matter, who needs talent? The skill sets are changing along with the technology, faster than it takes to read this page. You have to keep treading water and try to anticipate the next wave.

Streets of SOHO

Posted in art with tags , , , on May 1, 2008 by barryshapiro

Walking the streets of SOHO. I see this stuff and I react. Thats because this is what I envision my mind looks like. That’s why New York will always be home.

Warholian

Warholian

Love Is Original

Love Is Original

Mistress

Mistress

Physical Graffiti

Physical Graffiti

VANS

VANS

SMURF

SMURF

Jonah\'s Girls

Jonah’s Girls