Is Advertising Art?

The discussion about what counts as art has a history of its own. Lately, I’ve been considering whether or not a distinction between “high art” and “low art” is helpful and whether or not I could even put images into those two categories. In many ways, the cannon of art is becoming de-cannonized in my mind.

If that is true, and my definition of art includes things that most people might not consider art, why am I tempted to install THIS? “Add Art” replaces the advertisements you see on websites with artwork from juried exhibits.

The temptation to install art in the place of advertising makes me reconsider something I often forget…there are different reasons for advertising and for art making most of the time.

Do you think there are some distinctions between art and advertising? If so, what?


3 thoughts on “Is Advertising Art?

  1. David Berlin says:

    Interesting. The “What is art” dilemma is something that can only be asked, never answered. As soon as we start off with “Art is” we automatically limit many other things that art also is. The very same problem exists when one asks “What is God?”Questions like these:WHAT MAKES WHAT I’M DOING “ART”?HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M AN ARTIST?WHY IS THIS ART AND NOT THAT?WHAT MAKES SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL?IS WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL TO ME BEAUTIFUL TO EVERYONE?IS BEAUTY A COMMONALITY?WHAT IS BEAUTY?WHY DO WE HAVE ART?WHAT DOES ART DO?WHAT IS ART FOR?DOES ART SERVE A PURPOSE?SHOULD ART SERVE A PURPOSE?WHERE DOES CRAFT END AND ART BEGIN?can only be contemplated, never definitively answered and that is a very good thing.It is the inescapable fact that aesthetics is the core, the seed, the be-all-and-end-all of art. It’s the one aspect of arts education away from which we most eagerly shy! Plus, aesthetic education is the asset that other content areas do not give to or are not capable of giving to students. Among other things it is a quality of life issue. One problem is that people from different content areas use the vocabulary differently. What a visual artist calls “aesthetics” frequently is what a music educator would call “characteristics of style” and what a music educator calls “aesthetic response” the visual person calls “intuitive critical response”…sigh, and so it goes.

  2. lindsay michele says:

    As a graphic designer who is in the process of redesigning a brochure and business cards for a client, I want to say, “YES! Advertising can be art.” But then I think some more and I’m not so sure. I’m looking through a great book at the moment about business graphics and successful branding. The best branding makes the best use of artistic elements. But for me personally, art would come from something inside, something that I do no matter what anyone else thinks. Graphic design (often advertising) has a different intention altogether. No matter how great the design, the purpose is still consumerism at the heart.Hmmm… something to ponder a little longer.

  3. jgabriele says:

    In thinking about this post, I keep going back to how I would teach this to my students at a middle school level. So, I will approach this from an educational viewpoint. One of my mantras that I tell the students is that everything is art. Everything that they see in their daily lives was created. Art is everywhere. This can be from physical objects to abstract ideas, e.g., essays, blogs, etc. Everything is created. It was/is created. Maybe this is very naive.Once the students can get to this level – and sometimes it can be hard; then they can decide why is this art good or bad. One can also use this mantra for music – Music is everywhere.We are also influenced by many things – some influences are subtle, some are more direct; but we are influenced. Just as we can be influenced by art, we can be influence by advertising. The actual advertising might not be good or you don’t like the message but it is art. It was created, just like everything else. The “formal” artists have a message/point of view/suggestion, just like the artists of the ad. I personally appreciate that advertising does have a message and how is that message conveyed, what techniques did they use, what were they thinking, etc.So, I believe that Art is advertising and advertising is art.

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