Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Friends and advisers

Roger Fry, from his 1926 essay "Art and Commerce":

“What I constate is the fact that advertisement has, in recent times, taken on a new complexion. It is tinged with a new poetry — a new romance. It is no longer the severely practical affair it once was; it brings about a new relation between the public and the great limited liability companies. There is a note of affectionate zeal for the public in their communications. The big companies pose as friends and advisers of the public, they appear filled with concern for their welfare, they would even educate them and show them the way to higher and better things. The Underground tells the slum dweller of the beauties of nature in the country, it reveals the wonders of animal life at the Zoo, it inspires the historical sense by pictures of old London. The great railway combines tell of the glories of provincial England, and inspire an enthusiasm for the grandeur of modern locomotives. In fact, each of these great concerns tries to build up in the public imagination an image of something almost personal — and as such they begin to claim almost the loyalty and allegiance of the public they exploit.”

— from Art and the Market: Roger Fry on Commerce in Art, ed. Craufurd D. Goodwin, 121

On a related note, the season finale of Mad Men was excellent.