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Political Advertisement X 1952-2020
Antoni Muntadas & Marshall Reese | TRT 01:38:04 | 2020
Political Advertisement X 1952-2020
Video Details
Antoni Muntadas & Marshall Reese | 2020 | 01:38:04 | United States | English | B&W and Color | Stereo | 16:9

Sixty-eight years of American political history represented by television advertisements for and against presidential candidates. 

Close Details
Political Advertisement X 1952-2020
Video Details
Antoni Muntadas & Marshall Reese | 2020 | 01:38:04 | United States | English | B&W and Color | Stereo | 16:9

Sixty-eight years of American political history represented by television advertisements for and against presidential candidates. 

Close Details

VDB is thrilled to present Political Advertisement X 1952-2020 on VDB TV until November 4th. For the last 36 years, artists Muntadas and Reese have been compiling a history of presidential campaign spots following the evolution of political advertising from its beginnings in 1952 to the present. Political Advertisement is a personal vision of how politics and politicians are presented through the moving image.

For the past nine general elections, the artists have premiered the latest version of the compilation in a public presentation. Occurring during the final week of this year’s campaign, the tenth edition of Political Advertisement offers a timely and important outlet as many prepare to cast their ballots.

Muntadas and Reese first started working on this video project in 1984. This fascinating anthology, updated to include ads from the 2020 presidential campaign, documents the selling of the American presidency since the 1950s. Surveying the American televisual campaign process from Eisenhower to Clinton and Trump, the artists trace the history of television ads as both political strategy and marketing technique. The artists write, “Democracy is under threat on multiple levels today – from dark money donations that push for interests favoring the wealthy and corporations; from technologies of persuasion, Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube that have overtaken and reshaped the media landscape; to the even more mortal danger in 2020 that is the Coronavirus.”

Antoni Muntadas was born in Barcelona in 1942, and has lived in New York since 1971. His work addresses social, political and communications issues, and the relationship between public and private space within social frameworks, as well as channels of information and the ways they may be used to censor central information or promulgate ideas. He works on projects in different media such as photography, video, publications, Internet and multi-media installations. Since 1995, Muntadas has grouped together a set of works and projects titled On Translation, emphasizing issues of interpretation, transcription and cultural translation. Their content, dimensions and materials are variable, and focus on the author’s personal experience and artistic activity in numerous countries over forty years.

Marshall Reese is a Brooklyn-based artist working in various media, including video, information networks, custom hardware and software, editions, and temporary public art events. Since the mid-eighties he has collaborated with Nora Ligorano as LigoranoReese. Their work is an ongoing investigation into the impact of technology on society and the rhetoric of politics and visual culture in the media. LigoranoReese have presented seven site-specific public works at the U.S. political conventions focusing on climate and political issues. In June 2020 they launched their most ambitious public art work yet, The School of Good Citizenship, in Charlotte NC, coinciding with the Republican Convention. Over 200 artists, photographers, singers, poets and filmmakers have participated in their exhibitions, workshops, drive-in film screenings and live streamed performances.

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Political Advertisement X 1952-2020

The Political Advertisement project began in 1984, when New York-based media artists Muntadas and Reese produced their first compilation of American presidential commercials, beginning with Eisenhower in the 1950s. Every four years since — aligned to the national election cycle — they’ve updated the collection to reflect the current moment, presenting the clips in chronological order, with no voice-over editorializing, a tour-de-force of witty and incisive editing. Consisting of rare as well as notorious footage, Political Advertisement argues for television’s enormous importance in selling the presidency — a force that transforms citizens into consumers, and the presidency into the ultimate product.

"Muntadas’ and Reese’s Political Advertisement remains true to its calling, every four years using a dry wit and a cool hand to produce a compendium of those televisual devices and tricks invoked to conjure into being a plausible and willing presidential effect."

— Bill Horrigan, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus OH, 2020