Culture as weapon The art of influence in everyday life

Nato Thompson

Book - 2017

"One of the country's leading activist curators explores how corporations and governments have used art and culture to mystify and manipulate us. The production of culture was once the domain of artists, but beginning in the early 1900s, the emerging fields of public relations, advertising and marketing transformed the way the powerful communicate with the rest of us. A century later, the tools are more sophisticated than ever, the onslaught more relentless. In Culture as Weapon, accla...imed curator and critic Nato Thompson reveals how institutions use art and culture to ensure profits and constrain dissent--and shows us that there are alternatives. An eye-opening account of the way advertising, media, and politics work today, Culture as Weapon offers a radically new way of looking at our world"--

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

700.103/Thompson
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 700.103/Thompson Checked In
Subjects
Published
Brooklyn, NY : Melville House 2017.
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 272 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9781612195735
1612195733
Main Author
Nato Thompson (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Thompson, chief curator at the public-art organization Creative Time, author of Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the Age of Cultural Production (2015), and editor of several other books, here explores the intersections of art, culture, and manipulation in society. He offers compelling historical examples of how government, corporations, and individuals, including artists and activists, have utilized and harnessed the powers of art and culture to shift and influence perceptions and images in public dialogue. Thompson writes confidently that governments and big businesses have employed marketing techniques in order to influence consumers to drive up profits or support specific agendas. He describes the role of artists who have resisted and challenged the influences of various institutions through their creative and political activities. This is a swift read for those who enjoy cultural and social politics and the history of marketing and advertising in America. Readers will find Thompson's book to be informative, profound, and alarming, as he traces the ongoing developments of those who are manipulating culture and art through technology and social media today. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In a sprawling and ambitious exploration, curator and critic Thompson (Seeing Power) outlines the ways that culture has been used and abused by governments, politicians, and corporations to manipulate behavior, earn money, and influence the outcome of armed conflict. Thompson's politics and passion for social activism are never far from the surface. He attempts to draw together diverse threads such as Nazi propaganda, the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s, counterinsurgency doctrine in Iraq and Afghanistan, social justice initiatives in Philadelphia, the artwork of Andy Warhol, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the social engineering of retail spaces in order to show how those in power seek to manipulate and modify the behavior of consumers to maximize both political and economic gain. Thompson's writing shines when discussing the arts and the "charity industrial complex"; his forays into military analysis are less successful. VERDICT This dense and wide-ranging read will appeal to those interested in critiques of capitalism and the philosophical questions raised by the corporate manipulation of culture.—Rebecca Brody, Westfield State Univ., MA. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

The latest from art critic Thompson (Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century) chronicles the ever-increasing complexity and ubiquity of ads and artworks that manipulate people into purchasing an item or accepting an ideology. Beginning with an anecdote-heavy history of the golden age of advertising, Thompson reveals that companies increasingly stopped trying to market a product and turned toward marketing a social experience, a trend exemplified by Apple, Ikea, and Starbucks. Thompson compellingly suggests that selling a product and selling an ideology have historically applied disconcertingly similar tactics; indeed, the advertising firm behind the wildly successful Volkswagen Beetle ad campaign of the late 1950s later produced the famous "Daisy" campaign ad for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Thompson's approach emphatically hews to the left, recalling the politics of Howard Zinn and Naomi Klein, and he treats the term "culture" very broadly. The book is an energetic, briskly paced, and well-researched polemic that avoids cliché and succeeds in raising awareness of the cultural forces that shape brand preferences and political allegiance. (Jan.) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"One of the country's leading activist curators explores how corporations and governments have used art and culture to mystify and manipulate us. The production of culture was once the domain of artists, but beginning in the early 1900s, the emerging fields of public relations, advertising and marketing transformed the way the powerful communicate with the rest of us. A century later, the tools are more sophisticated than ever, the onslaught more relentless. In Culture as Weapon, acclaimed curator and critic Nato Thompson reveals how institutions use art and culture to ensure profits and constrain dissent--and shows us that there are alternatives. An eye-opening account of the way advertising, media, and politics work today, Culture as Weapon offers a radically new way of looking at our world"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

One of the country's leading activist curators explores how corporations and governments have used art and culture to mystify and manipulate us.The production of culture was once the domain of artists, but beginning in the early 1900s, the emerging fields of public relations, advertising and marketing transformed the way the powerful communicate with the rest of us. A century later, the tools are more sophisticated than ever, the onslaught more relentless. In Culture as Weapon, acclaimed curator and critic Nato Thompson reveals how institutions use art and culture to ensure profits and constrain dissent--and shows us that there are alternatives. An eye-opening account of the way advertising, media, and politics work today, Culture as Weapon offers a radically new way of looking at our world.