Contact: Laura Price, PR Director
STEVE GRASSE REVEALS “THE ARCADIA PROJECT”
THIS WORK OF ART UNIFIES BIKINI BANDITS, G-MART, VIRUS, AND OTHER GRASSE PROJECTS INTO ONE GIGANTIC MAGNUM OPUS
GRASSE SEEKS TO JOIN MATTHEW BARNEY AND DAMIEN HIRST AMONG THE RANKS OF THE WORLD’S FOREMOST CONCEPTUAL ARTISTS
Philadelphia, PA- Steve Grasse, best known as the CEO and Executive Creative Director of Gyro Worldwide, has revealed himself to be the world’s first conceptual artist to use advertising itself as a medium for critiquing contemporary culture. Grasse has used every sub-medium of advertising--print, outdoor, packaging, live events, branding, guerilla marketing, Internet work--as a vehicle for personal art projects. This month Grasse has revealed that these projects, executed over the course of his years as head of Gyro, together form a larger work of art, THE ARCADIA PROJECT.
The Arcadia Project is a sequence of five projects that together form a phenomenology of attentional economics and American pop culture at
the beginning of the 21st century. Transmitted to the public through the medium of advertising, the Arcadia Project seeks to provoke new
lines of thinking about the relationship between technology, the media, sex, truth, and the accelerating global economy. It sets forth advertising itself as a new system, a collective game we play to better understand ourselves and our place amongst each other.
The Arcadia Project is an ongoing experiment dealing with reactions of the public and media after 10 years of study and experimentation with human reactions to advertising and art and how the two relate. The study consists of 5 projects thus far: GMART, the store that sold everything but sold nothing; Evil Empire, a satirical campaign to get the British government to pay 58 trillion dollars in reparations; Derrie-Air, a hoax ad campaign touting slogans like “The more you weigh, the more you pay;” Bikini Bandits, one of the most culturally significant films of our time that used strippers to make art; and the most recent installment, Virus, the book chronicling the past 20 years of Gyro’s history which stakes claims about Gyro launching careers of such notables as Spike Jonze, Doug Aitken, Quentin Tarantino and Dayton and Ferris.
Assisted by a staff of eighty, Grasse has spent twenty years forging a new synthesis between the goals of advertising and the goals of fine art. Like the art world, the advertising world looks favorably upon those who find ways to comment on its excesses and profit from them at the same time. While Grasse takes on clients and performs projects on their behalf, projects that advance client brands and further client commercial interests, he is constantly finding ways to frame his work against a larger backdrop--that of conceptual art.
Advertising, branding and client are the mediums he uses to bring his vision into the world. With his Arcadia Project, a multi-stage conceptual work executed over the course of a decade, Grasse has demonstrated how detaching mass media from advertising all together yields moments of pure pop rapture, Warholian expressions of the collective national imagination.
In his artist statement regarding Virus, Grasse notes “Bernard-Levy is a ghost, but the facts of my story, as told through her, are consistent and verifiable with the set of credible facts that we know as "the record." Is this enough to make my story true? Is a book's existence in the marketplace as an advertised, salable commodity enough to justify our belief in the sentences between its covers? Or must my story be endless repeated, transmitted over and over again through glossy magazine ads, billboards, viral YouTube videos, and websites like this one? Can a man sell his story to the public, as though it were a widget? Is endless repetition in the marketplace of the mind sufficient for any set of half-baked lies to be accepted as unquestionable truths? Who owns "truth," and the right to label and market a story as "true?" These are a few of the questions that drove me to create VIRUS, the Arcadia Project's fifth and most recent installment.”
For more information on the Arcadia Project, please visit www.thearcadiaproject.net
About the Artist: Steven Grasse
Steven A. Grasse is a conceptual artist, author, and entrepreneur born in Souderton, Pennsylvania. Best known as the CEO and Executive Creative Director of Gyro Worldwide, Grasse is the world's first conceptual artist to use advertising itself as a medium for critiquing contemporary culture. Grasse has used every sub-medium of advertising--print, outdoor, packaging, live events, branding, guerilla marketing, Internet work--as a vehicle for his art.
Advertising forms an evolving representation of a brand in the public mind. Art seeks to make our innermost selves known to others; to transform the culture; to teach the public to see. Artists are behaving like firms--hiring subcontractors, establishing monopolies, maximizing revenues, and pushing their personal brands. Like the great Renaissance masters who made the Church's fearsome and magnificent God visible, they are mirrors-for-hire, cranking out flattering portraits of who ever hires them. Firms, meanwhile, are acting like artists. They try to tune in the public's deepest concerns and transform these emotions into tangible objects. In the global outsourced economy, the firm's task is not so much to produce or add value, but to probe the deep, untapped regions of the consumer/audience soul.
In a time where advertising is ubiquitous, identity is a question of demographics, and lifestyles are formed around the sum total of the individual's relationship to the brands he or she buys, the line between advertising and art is disappearing. Grasse's work seeks to highlight, document, celebrate and accelerate the erasure of this line. Working in the most ordinary of public mediums, he uses the standard American visual vernacular--boobs, guns, liquor, recycled 20th century pop references--to created a comfortable and familiar camouflage around his radical art-is-advertising-is-art-is-advertising thesis. He lives with his wife and children in Society Hill, Philadelphia.
SOURCE: Laura Price @ Gyro Worldwide