Story of a Lady Who…
By Tom Wachunas
“Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” –Andy Warhol
"I've decided something: Commercial things really do stink. As soon as it becomes commercial for a mass market it really stinks." –Andy Warhol
“If all life is sacred, then the marketplace is of the same spiritual significance as the temple...” - Harold Loukes
Exhibition: Annie’s Love Story, by Judi Krew, at your local ACME Stores, ongoing while supplies last…
Back in October of 2013, Judi Krew wrote in her blog, Snarkyart, about a recent ambitious project by interviewing herself. It was a clever idea, giving us a broad new app for “selfie.” Anyway, if you missed it, you’ll need to read it NOW to get the gist of what follows here. Click this link:
Thanks and welcome back.
There was a time, long ago and in a land far away, when art that smacked of anything even vaguely commercial - and any ideas about marketing “art for the masses” - were anathema to me. Older now, I realize that a mind is a terrible thing not to change. That said, the two Warhol quotes at the top of my post here were uttered many years apart. But oh, that Andy…such a kidder. I can just about hear him laughing all the way to the bank when he said the second one.
Not that Judi Krew is getting filthy rich from her series of six reusable shopping bags marketed at Acme. Frankly it’s not relevant one way or the other. At any rate, over the years I’ve come to better appreciate Krew’s wit, generous palette, noteworthy painting and compositional skills and yes, her business acumen. She’s one savvy bag lady, so to speak.
I’ve now collected half the series. Is this how soap opera fans feel, following the doings of a beloved character? Will we see Annie kiss the man she smiled at on bag number two? Or will that come only after their hands touch when reaching for a Honeydew? An exchange of phone numbers? I wait with bated breath.
Seriously, it’s good fun to watch for elements repeated from one bag to the next – including references to other artists. Krew was spot-on when she described the experience of looking for recurring visual motifs as “…a sophisticated game of Where’s Waldo.” Maybe when I’ve acquired the whole series I’ll offer you my full “script” and eventually see how well it matches up with Krew’s.
Meanwhile, I truly appreciate the bags as objets d’art - an edition of “sculptural prints” on 100% woven polypropylene. And washable too (but DO NOT tumble dry)! I have no intention of using them for real shopping.
Then again, the bags have given rise to a fantasy scenario. What if we begin to see shoppers using them in stores other than Acme? Annie goes viral. So OK, I bring one or two to use at my local Fishers one day - a performance art piece to see how many managers’ eyebrows I can raise.
Oh, that Tom…such a rebel.
PHOTOS (from top) First three bags, in sequence, from a series of six. Bottom photo - side views