Consumed / Rob Walker November 2012 Newsletter: "As Real As It Gets," an exhibition in NYC

Hi everyone,

As usual it’s been longer than ideal since the last Consumed / Rob Walker Newsletter. But I have some news I’m really excited about, and that I hope will particularly interest those of you in NYC.

"As Real As It Gets," opening Thursday evening, November 15, is a group show at the fantastic nonprofit gallery apexart organized by, uh, me. It addresses fictional products and imaginary brands, through images, objects, music, 3D printing, and more. I'm going to be there, so if you are in the area, I really hope you will come by and say hello.

The show includes works by Shawn Wolfe, Conrad Bakker, Dana Wyse, Michael Arcego & Stephanie Syjuco, Steven M. Johnson, Ryan Watkins-Hughes, and Matt Brown, among others. These works include speculative products, "shop dropped" objects, fictional souvenirs, imagined brands, and fake advertising campaigns. The show also includes contributions from real-world companies that specialize "defictionalized" branded objects, crossing over from entertainments to real life — and from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which conducted a memorable experiment in exploring how a phony product can make a very real point.

In addition, "As Real As It Gets" offers a pleasing variety of new commissions created specifically for this exhibition: Respirer, a high-end brand of air proposed by behavioral psychology expert Dan Ariely; conjectural marketing for a relaunch of Tono-Bungay, the health tonic at the center of H.G. Wells' 1909 novel; and identity materials promoting FutureWorld, a fear-focused financial consultancy that exists only in Nathaniel Rich's forthcoming novel, Odds Against Tomorrow

And: the results of a collaborative sound-as-art "sonic branding" experiment conducted by Marc Weidenbaum's Disquiet Junto network of musicians, on behalf of a hypothetical contemporary iteration of Zola's 19th Century seduction-machine department store, The Ladies' Paradise.

That, of course, is not all. Over the course of the opening, a MakerBot Replicator 3D printer will manufacture a special 20th Anniversary Edition of Shawn Wolfe's celebrated non-product, the RemoverInstaller™, before your very eyes. Additional MakerBotted RemoverInstallers™ will be produced throughout the run of the exhibition.

Promotional giveaways available at the opening for the various nonexistent brands include Tono-Bongay stickers, Ladies' Paradise balloons, FutureWorld business cards (calling the advertised number is recommended), and pharma-company-style pens advertising Veladone-RX, a drug that exists only in an academic study related to the relationship between price and the placebo effect. Come early and to enjoy the limited quantities of the defictionalized imaginary product Tru Blood, courtesy of Omni Consumer Products. (There will be non-fictional booze and so on, as well.)

AS REAL AS IT GETS: November 16 - December 22, 2012

apexart: 291 Church Street, NYC

Opening Reception: November 15, 6-8pm

As noted, I will be there. And more interestingly, so will a number of the contributing artists. The evening seems likely to be at least fairly ridiculous.

More about the show here; a limited collection of relevant images here. ArtInfo called "As Real As It Gets" one of the most-anticipated of the fall 2012 NYC gallery shows — which was, frankly, pure speculation on their part.

Tell your friends, and I hope to see/meet you there.

Facebook event page:

And finally, apart from all of this, to ALL of you who may be reside NY/NJ and environs: I sincerely hope you're well in the aftermath of Sandy and more recent weather troubles.

That's all for now. Thanks as always for checking this out.


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