Friday, January 27, 2006

Advertising imitates art

KFC, Bamberg, SC
Originally uploaded by Rodney Welch.
I saw this picture at lunch
and was immediately struck by the fact that a picture's meaning depends on where it hangs. In rural South Carolina, it sells chicken -- and at some weird subtle level seems to both invoke both racial and racist images. A friend pointed out that by having it on her head the kid immediately makes you think of women in Africa, carrying the goods to market; also, given the product, it makes you think of decades of stereotyping. Take the same picture and put it in a museum, and these images are not only underscored but mocked, as if to make some sly comment on the inveterate racism of modern advertising. Colin Quashie was not far from mind.

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