Produced by Creative Time
Did you know that Times Square is the only neighborhood with a zoning ordinance requiring tenants to display bright signs, and that it’s actually illegal for a sign NOT to be illuminated? Or that the average person is exposed to 5,000 advertising messages per day? Artist Christine Hill has compiled captivating facts and figures about Times Square advertising into an imaginative and thought-provoking artwork cum resource.
For one hundred years, Times Square - the iconic, vivid, audacious, and often garish nexus of outdoor advertising, entertainment and public display - has mesmerized audiences from every corner of the world, yet few visitors have the means to comprehend the vast resources and sometimes amusing regulations involved in the ultimate urban setting.
A Consumer’s Guide to Times Square Advertising continues Creative Time’s tradition of enlivening Times Square with art on the media capital’s 100th anniversary. The artwork is a playful interpretation of commerce and marketing that decodes the process by which an outdoor advertisement reaches the public’s eyes. Consumer’s Guide was designed with 1950s imagery and typography, recalling typical consumer guides of the time. Hill’s work fuses an ‘aesthetic echo of the American dream and a mix of 1950s American corporate optimism.’ The artwork responds to the growing symbolic force of brands and trademarks, and the reality that, with each passing day, increasingly more of our public space is sold off to the highest bidder. This domain, formally rejected by many artists, is now embedded in the dialogue of public art due to its presence in everyday life.
Print out your own wheel and a map of Times Square advertisements online!
Paying homage to old-time glamorous entertainment distribution, a nostalgic 1950s aesthetic that Christine Hill has employed throughout her artistic practice, performers dressed as classic ‘cigarette girls’ distributed the Consumer’s Guide while interacting with the crowds in Times Square. The performers also offer guided tours of the spectacular billboards in Times Square - an artistic and humorous alternative to the popular, commercial tours of New York City.
Christine Hill (b. 1968) lives and works in New York and Berlin. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, MD in 1991. Her work has been exhibited extensively internationally and in the United States in museums and galleries. She has exhibited most recently at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York (where she is represented), MOCA Cleveland, OH, Institute of Contemporary Art, Leipzig, Germany, Deitch Projects, New York, and Artspace 1%, Copenhagen, Denmark.
From Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage, Coney Island, the skies over Manhattan with Tribute in Light and cloud skywriting, to storefronts, milk cartons, deli cups, and billboards, Creative Time has worked with artists for the past 33 years to invigorate the urban landscape and enliven New York City. Creative Time is renowned for its consistent presence in Times Square. Notably, with The 42nd Street Art Project in 1993 and 1994, and with The 59th Minute since May 2000.
Christine Hill’s A Consumer’s Guide to Times Square Advertising is presented in collaboration with Volksboutique and the Times Square Alliance. This project is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency; New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller; New York City Councilmember Christine Quinn; New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane. Special thanks to Ron Bromberg at Flexigroup for the production and to Gianpietro+Smith for the design of A Consumer’s Guide to Times Square Advertising.