Political Advertisement VIII: 1952-2012

Antoni Muntadas and Marshall Reese

July 18, 2016July 24, 2016

Aligned with the 2016 Republican National Convention, MOCA Cleveland is pleased to present Political Advertisement VIII: 1952-2012, on view Monday, July 18 – Sunday, July 24. This ongoing anthology is 30 years in-the- making; artists Antoni Muntadas and Marshall Reese continue to update and expand their video series with each election cycle. Currently in its 8th edition, Political Advertisement presents a continuous stream of more than 102 television commercials spanning 60 years of electioneering without commentary. From the birth of televised political advertisements in 1952 through the social-media driven 2012 election, a history of social and media culture emerges, showcasing America’s dynamic visualization of the political process.

“Political advertisement has changed,” Muntadas notes. “At first ads gave information With the evolution of advertising, commericals give less information about the product, and they are more about strategy. What they want is to get people to buy the product—the candidate.”

In this revealing survey of the American televisual campaign process, Muntadas and Reese explore the moving image as a critical vehicle through which presidential candidates shape public identities, convey political platforms, and garner social support. Campaign tactics become aligned with manipulative marketing techniques—such as negative ads, soft-sell approaches, and emotionalism—while the use of recurring archetypes and innovative strategies blur the boundaries between drama and diplomacy.

This series has been screened at The Kitchen, Artists Space, the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, Pacific Film Archive/Berkeley Art Museum, MoMA, and The Wexner Center, among others.

Antoni Muntadas was born in Barcelona in 1942 and has lived in New York since 1971. His work addresses social, political and communications issues, the relationship between public and private space within social frameworks, as well as channels of information and the ways they may be used to censor central information or promulgate ideas. He works on projects in different media such as photography, video, publications, Internet and multi-media installations. Since 1995, Muntadas has grouped together a set of works and projects titled On Translation. Their content, dimensions and materials are highly diverse, and they all focus on the author’s personal experience and artistic activity in numerous countries over a period of thirty years. By grouping such works together under this epigraph, Muntadas places them within a body of experience and concrete concerns regarding communication, the culture of our times and the role of the artist and art in contemporary society.

Marshall Reese is a Brooklyn-based artist working with various media including video, information networks, custom hardware and software, editions and temporary public art events. Since the mid-eighties he has collaborated with Nora Ligorano as LigoranoReese Their work is an ongoing investigation into the impact of technology on society and the rhetoric of politics and visual culture in the media. Since 2008 LigoranoReese have presented 7 site-specific public works at the U.S. political conventions focusing on climate and political issues. These installations incorporate ice sculptures weighing several tons, video and live streaming. For the RNC in Cleveland they are unveiling a 4000 pound sculpture carved in ice spelling out the words The American Dream at Transformer Station on July 19.