Coca Cola Using Public Art

40th Anniversity of Blake’s Sargent Pepper Album cover for the Beattles
Public Art managers and curators have developed successful collaborations with community-based organizations to enhance the value and participation of a new artwork, but in general the industry has failed to capture potential coordination via the mass media and Internet. In London last week, Coca Cola gave the public art establishment a lesson. Although Coca Cola was using this system to increase sales, nothing about the interactive system is ethically problematic. In fact, the system is an excellent example for building connection to works of art.
Coca Cola built a very user friendly website through which the average Internet user can make their own Coca Cola poster. The site was fun for me as it was very easy and fast to add images and to manipulate. The image base is constructed from Pop Iconography.
Coca Cola then hired Sir Peter Blake – one godfather of British Pop Art – to make a giant poster at a weeklong festival in London. Blake himself was at the installation as the contractor applied giant cutout figures, repeating Blake’s own art making method known best through his 1967 Beatle’s album cover. BCC and all media outlets provided extensive coverage due to Blake’s participation and the Coca Cola PR machine.
Occasionally, artists themselves create the Internet participation and more frequently media attention through actions like hundreds of naked people in the streets. Sometimes around Olympics or the Superbowl, agencies have better coordination with the mass media. But I don’t know of any successful projects like the Coca Cola Posters to foster wide participation and interest. PLEASE SEND ME EXAMPLES!!!
Generally, public art agencies do not start with question – “What kind of project can we invent to attract the media and wide participation in art making?” or “How can a future public art project help build support and awareness from a broad public?”
To watch the Channel 4 report and interview with Peter Blake, visit Channel 4 and click on “Watch the Report”.
Visit the website and click on the Coca Cola Creator.
Examples on Display
Artist, Tracey Emin writes a column for the Indepentent. She brings her “artwork as my life” to the general public. In 2005, she installed the world’s most expensive public artwork per cubic inch – about $1,500. (75 cubic inches for $120,000 at today’s exchange rate.) The work is smart. She questioned the issues of “size” versus intimate attention and placement. “It ain’t the meat, it’s the motion.” She questioned the giant Liver Bird and its repetitive use a civic symbol in Liverpool through the tiny sparrow. Once you see the sparrow, you see the carelessness of the Liver Bird images. (For the record, I maintain a special place of affection in my heart for the artist that is a public pain-in-the-ass.
From the BBC Press Release: Artist Tracey Emin has unveiled her first piece of public art in Liverpool on Thursday. The Roman Standard – which features a small bird on top of a four-metre high bronze pole – is a tribute to the city’s famous symbol the Liver Bird.
The sculpture was commissioned by the BBC as part of their contribution to the art05 festival and Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2008. It stands outside The Oratory, in Upper Duke Street by the Anglican Cathedral. Emin said the sculpture represents strength and femininity. The bird, which is the size of a sparrow, disappears when viewed from the front and only reappears as the viewer moves left to right.
The Liver Bird of Liverpool

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