Do the 'Art Everywhere' Billboards Support Art, or Advertising?

With so many eyes trained obsessively on mobile phones, the outdoor industry is supporting a campaign to place famous art on billboards around the country. Will people notice? Should they?

1 minute read

August 29, 2014, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


The Dallas Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York recently partnered to spearhead a campaign called Art Everywhere, in which master works of American art are placed on billboards around the country.

Setting aside the ostensible purpose of reclaiming these public displays for highbrow expressions of creativity rather than crass marketing campaigns, Paul Hiebert points out the other, less obvious beneficiary of the campaign: the outdoor advertising industry.

According to Hiebert, "the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, a trade group for out-of-home advertisers and an Art Everywhere U.S. collaborator, is hoping the project will get more people looking up and around again instead of down at their digital devices. Major sponsors also include big-name advertisers such as CBS Outdoor, Clear Channel Outdoor, and JCDecaux."

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