Michael Hernandez de Luna prints his own stamps and sends them to himself. Packard Jennings makes his own products and sneaks them onto the racks at WalMart. Of all the art shown at the Illegal Art exhibit, these pieces were the most thought provoking. Why? Because they interact with systems. The artists include and engage the institutions they are critiquing. Hernandez de Luna’s stamps portray events and items not usually publicly celebrated by government agencies . One sheet of stamps bears an image of “baby doll bomb,” an American Girl doll cutely superimposed on a scene of fiery destruction. He toys with the gap between our national philatelic persona (love, jazz singers, and the muppets) and our darker cultural icons (viagra, playboy, and prozac) using the postal system as his playground.
Packard Jennings sets his stage at WalMart, the largest retail operation in the world. Some of us choose to boycott. Packard Jennings takes it a few steps farther. He plants action figures of Mussolini, then videotapes himself succeeding in buying one. His statements about consumerism and corporate rule work because they are lighthearted and interactive. A cardboard boycott sign stating “WalMart is fascist,” no matter how well painted, would never have the same effect. Jennings captures attention by tweaking the institution from within.
posted by amber bell