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Which clippings match 'Selfridges' keyword pg.1 of 1
27 JANUARY 2009

Is the Selfridges joke on us?

"The ads are the result of a collaboration between [Barbara Kruger], [Selfridges] and advertising agency Mother which has been going on for several years now.

Although Kruger has always remained tight–lipped about the deal, it's obvious what she gets out of this: what better setting for her slogans than a high temple to consumerism (with an eager congregation queuing outside from 5am)? As for Mother – well, this is what they do: archly ironic social commentary that amounts to 'anti–advertising'. The assumption is that the Selfridges customer is so post–modern and media–savvy that they're all in on the joke.

But what is the joke exactly? That shopping is an alienating process. To say, 'I shop, therefore I am' is to point out the emptiness at the core of the capitalist lifestyle. Take another Kruger slogan used by Selfridges: 'You want it, you buy it, you forget it.' Get it? It's like Gerald Ratner gone highbrow. The joke is on us. Selfridges is laughing at its customers. Only we can't help but laugh along, for fear of appearing unsophisticated; unmetropolitan. How very clever of them. But let's not worry about it too much. Just keep on shopping."
(Mark Hooper Thursday 27 December 2007)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
25 JANUARY 2009

Barbara Kruger: consumerism critic appropriated

Barbara "Kruger wouldn't like the idea that she incarnates the spirit of our time, the bourgeois bohemianism that David Brooks meanly calls "Boboism." She's against the commercial exploitation of anything, her many market tie–ins notwithstanding. If her work consciously advances a position, it's feminism. But although she's a feminist, she's also a theorist trained not to impose her values on other people. She doesn't like to be for things. Instead, she identifies herself with a stance: critical, suspicious, oppositional. Kruger has made a career out of denouncing oppressors, from anti–abortion agitators to wife–beaters, homophobics, racists, and the editors of glossy magazines."
(Judith Shulevitz, 19 July 2000)

[Photo of signage created through a collaboration between Barbara Kruger, Selfridges and advertising agency Mother.]

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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