Giant Intruders In Our Cities, Part II


By URBACT, on March 12th, 2014

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Remember Ivan Tosics pictures on this blog of giant advertisement covering 5 storey buildings in eastern european towns? This picture of Saint Michel in Paris shows how the big Apple IPhone Advertisement currently dominates the landscape in its very touristic core. Browsing around the internet, we then found numerous accounts of  giant advertising, which, here, seems to  cover mostly buildings considered historical and cultural heritage, including art museums such as the Louvre itself.

From Artist Watchs To Artistic Ads

Indeed, the first account of advertisement covering up patrimonial assets points to the renovation of the contemporary art museum known as ‘Centre Pompidou’ or ‘Palais Beaubourg’,  where a watch brand campaigned on their  newest ‘artist watch’ in 1998-2000, as Le Louvre Pour Tous  reports. Since then, giant advertising for mostly luxury products on culturally valued real estate is used as an “art mécenat” tool. Having built upon that link to art, some advertisers now claim (with success, it appears!) to provide passer-bys with an emotional, esthetic, if not metaphysical experience.

The Practice Is Generalizing

In France, state law as well the code of historial monuments now allow for advertisement to cover up to 50% of a building under renovation as a mean of financing the renovation. In 2012, the most recent legislation was hoped to strengthen terms around public advertisement but actually extended this practice to private building renovation.

One critic suggested companies wishing to associate themselves with patrimonial and cultural institutions to put their logos on canvas featuring actual art works or the actual building beneath it – as is often done, and seems a fair practice. But it seems that this kind of of urban ad-tertainement finds enough public to sustain itself.

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