Branded and On Display 

Feb. 21-May 23

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Branded and On Display

As I sip on my Diet Coke and savor my McDonalds Egg McMuffin, I notice that my lowrise boot cut Gap jeans are fitting a bit snug. Damn, I think—time to dust off my Nikes and switch from a Starbucks venti mocha frappuccino to a triple grande skinny hazelnut latte. I pull out my Apple iPhone and make a note: Google caloric count in Subway’s turkey foot-long, and check Amazon.com for diet books.

Our daily lives are saturated with logos, popup ads and propaganda. Before we even realize it, we have become walking advertisements; the walking signboard has been replaced with branded T-shirts, the prestigious coffee emblem in your hand and the status symbol tag on your jeans.

The Salt Lake Art Center’s new exhibit Branded and On Display investigates the American trend of trademarks. Works from 22 artists will delve into the world of consumerism—from Andy Warhol’s pop-culture paintings to Brian Ulrich’s photographic portraits of contemporary consumer culture (Laurie Hogin’s “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!” is pictured).

The Branded exhibit humorously and honestly roasts today’s consumer, giving the onlooker an opportunity to step outside the consumer bubble and see the power of influence in the marketplace. It encourages consumers to shake off the branding blinders and prudently evaluate the impulsive need for overpriced, undervalued goods. Warning: After viewing, one may develop a sudden affection for private labels and knock offs. (Kris Heitkamp)

Branded and On Display @ Salt Lake Art Center, 20 S. West Temple. Feb. 21-May 23, 801-328-4201, SLArtCenter.org. Free and open to the public.

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Kris Heitkamp

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