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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Art Directors Club 2007 Call For Entries Poster 

The painting for this year's ADC Call-for-Entries poster (detail slide show) was executed by Norbert H. Kox. It has been published in Creativity and several other magazines, the San Francisco Chronicle, the internet, and 170,000 posters mailed out. For some odd reason this image has ignited rage in many, which has developed into a major controversy.
The illustration world is buzzing, and is hailing the piece both as the world's best choice for the ADC poster, and the world's worst choice for the ADC poster.
"It seems my work has angered a mob of illustrators, like it often does within the religious population. Many of the furious illustrators are attacking me for everything from choice of poor subject matter, bigotry and antichristian sentiment, to horrible and childish execution of style and technique, while their colleagues are praising the work for accurately depicting the present world scenario and the ills of society in a way that has attracted attention and caused a big enough stir to have become the topic of controversy on numerous websites on the internet."
Please leave your comments on this subject right here on Apocalypse House Blog Spot. Scroll down through the articles and comments to the bottom of this page and click the comment link, then type and post your viewpoint (or click here to post your sentiments).
Art Directors Club Newsletter, Issue 32, January 2007

From the Executive Director:
The 86th Annual Call for Entries, not surprisingly, is garnering its share of complaints and kudos. A panorama of the Apocalypse, as envisioned by TBWA\Chiat\Day and “outsider” artist Norbert H. Kox, the poster so far has been commented upon in the San Francisco Chronicle, Ad Age and other publications, on Fox News, and in online newsletters and blogs. Cataloguing numerous modern afflictions, the Call has engaged viewers and recipients in hot debate, with reactions ranging from admiration to outrage, and touching upon everything from the appropriateness of the subject matter to the merits of the artwork and typography. But people are taking notice, looking at it closely, and discussing it. In other words, it is a successful piece of communication--exactly what the industry is all about.Cordially,
Myrna Davis
Following are some quotations from the web controversy:
Posted by Rob Dunlavey at 9:08 am on December 22nd
There has been some heated discussion in the chat boards regarding the most recent Call for Entries poster for the Art Directors Club 86th competition. This discussion raises important issues on the variety of opinions illustrators have about training and professionalism and how illustrators relate to fine art. Perhaps more importantly, it raises larger questions about any art's (specifically Outsider Art) relation to the market and how design and illustration feed off of that market. My presumption here, to be perfectly clear, is that Design and Illustration, are by nature reactionary: they find their life in response to someone else's demands. …
Blurring the boundaries… or are we? As Robert Zimmerman helpfully pointed out, the ADC selected a painting by Norbert Kox for the poster. Kox is an American outsider Christian religious painter. His original paintings are sought after by collectors. He has his own schtick and he's the real thing. So, is the ADC appropriating his good-bad art to emphasize their good-bad trendy image? Maybe an image by Heironymous Bosch would work or is that too acceptable?
It is scary for trained artists to see unschooled and passionate "visionaries" getting all the acclaim. Perhaps it's just the swing of the pendulum. As professional image makes (as opposed to visionaries) we should be used to this sort of shift in taste.

Posted by Olaf. at 10:35 am on December 22nd
Is most excellent paintings!This Kox make Olaf the Great almost envy!This is a strong man of a painter! Like a bull in the china shop!Is not afraid to bring in the TYMPANI!!!
Drawgers should hang heads in shame! They piddle about like little crybabies. But Kox is a man amongst mens.
Is good! Is VERY good!

Posted by Steve Wacksman at 10:53 am on December 22nd
I'm amused by this poster. I think it's topical, the headline is funny, and the artist ( despite his lack of classical training) is passionate about what he does. Lastly, aren't posters supposed to be attention-grabbing? This one seems to be a rousing success when judged in that light...

Posted by David Flaherty at 11:15 am on December 22nd
Well I see the ADC as involving advertising and design primarily, (maybe I'm wrong) and advertising and design are supposed to get attention in creative ways and try to nab our eyeballs from all the oversaturation that exists. I like the poster, the image is interesting, it's clearly "bad" art. I'm not surprised to see it being used as I'm sure many ad's have this art in their collections and on their walls at home. Why should an art director feel compelled to go to a specific little drawer in the big desk of images and pick a traditional illustrator when they can open the real wacky drawer and use the image they did? In a sense the poster is successful as it is getting "buzz" and we are all talking about it. The worst poster to my thinking is one that does not garner any attention and lines the bird cage.Sure this one will at some homes soon too. SI HAS to use traditional illustration on it's poster because it is all about traditional illustration. ADC does not have to as it's about the larger world of art direction and advertising.

Posted by Leo at 12:02 pm on December 22nd
Go to the speakeasy. We covered the poster issue last night over a couple of mojitos. Mi final thought is that I hate that piece as an illustration but that I like it as a poster. It's not a poster for SI, so AD's have carte blanche for their choice.It's causing discussion and agitation, anger and happiness. It's doing a fine job. It's not one more beautiful poster. It's dark and sad, as the future of this world would be if we don't take some action.

Posted by Marc Burckhardt at 12:38 pm on December 22nd
This is my first look at the poster, but it seems very similar to Joe Coleman's work ( http://www.joecoleman.com/ )I understand Kox is well known, too, but Coleman would never agree to do a poster for advertising (though he was a School of Visual Arts student back in the 70's).

Posted by Steve Wacksman at 1:44 pm on December 22nd
Marc B- I also brought up Coleman's name in the Speakeasy. Very similar and similarly arresting.For what it's worth, Coleman DID do a poster advertising the movie Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, although the studio balked and it went unused.Tim O'B- Ugly is in the eye of the beholder. Some of the skilled and well-respected illustrators that grace the pages of the vaunted American Illustration are, in my opinion, far uglier than this image. Some of the bland, uninspired and predictable images that I see there make me far queasier than this one.

Posted by Steve Wacksman at 4:39 pm on December 22nd
I think Kox is trying to make a point about the Apocalypse or at least the collapse of modern society. Whether or not it's clever is immaterial- he's not a commercial artist. His vision is his own. His paintings are full of his unique vocabulary almost all of which has biblical or apocalyptic symbolism.I very much doubt that Kox is dreaming of a Starbuck's account. My take on him is that he's an artist that creates because he's compelled to and anything beyond that is unintended consequence.I think the Hummers and Starbucks and pampered pets are meant to portray the callous disregard some people have for the Earth and it's mounting problems; an "I've got mine, F*** You" attitude. Is it disingenuous of the ADC to use this image? Maybe. But when you look at the image (apocalypse) and read the headline ( Final Call For Entries?) - well. it's just funny. A visual pun. I know we're only discussing this image, but when it's held up against contemporary ilustartion as it has been repeatedly throughout this conversation then I feel a discussion of contemporary illustration and it's merits is warranted. And I personally feel that this has more energy, honesty and heart than a large portion of the award-winning and celebrated work in the annuals.If, on the other hand, you are simply saying that you think it sucks, well... OK. Maybe it does.

Posted by Zimm at 5:00 pm on December 22nd
Back in 1985, The Talking Heads, who were all art school graduates if I recall correctly, had outsider artist Howard Finster create cover art for the album Little Creatures, which was followed by Rolling Stone Magazine crediting it as album cover of the year. It wasn't an original thought, exactly. Michael Stipe of the band REM, had commissioned Finster for the cover of Reckoning a couple of years earlier. Never-the-less, it worked for The Talking Heads.Finster, like Kox, had very extreme and disturbing religious views that he voiced through his art. So, it was no surprise that there was considerable shock associated with The Talking Heads, who were clearly pop-culture visionaries of that time, using Finster to visually represent their work. It was an extreme mix of high and low. For one reason or another, the dichotomy made people pay attention. It forced people to think.In the same way, I think there's a lot of shock value for the ADC in using Kox. Shocking an audience is an intentional device for starting important conversations. Nothing wrong with that. I feel that's often valuable and necessary, actually. Art directors can play an important role in doing exactly that, forcing people to think and starting important conversations. Sometimes this can be accomplished by pointing out the sublime and other times it’s best to put a spotlight on the disturbing. With the choice of Kox, they've succeeded in my opinion, with a needed conversation starter for our times.

Posted by Marc Burckhardt at 6:23 pm on December 22nd
David wrote:"I think we all steer our work to what will sell."I think most of the folks you mentioned, me included, sell the work we steered toward, not the other way around. What makes people perceive the work differently than outsider art, other than the art school education many (but certainly not all) of us got, is the context in which we create much of our work Steve's most likely right about Kox's biblical motivations, but I have to wonder what happens to the $50,000 a pop he gets for doing it. At any rate, in this context he's sold his soul to the devil - the very people who feed the consumer society he's condemning. But that's another thread enttirely.In the end, probably the thing that makes this work best is that we all have a picture of some untarnished visionary frantically painting these images in the hills somewhere, and that lends a punch to it that picturing Mark & Ester in their Los Angeles studio might not give. To that end, it's very effective advertising, I suppose.

Posted by Adam McCauley at 8:12 pm on December 22nd
Well, I don't have a lot to add here! I'll right, I'll add something for whatever it may be worth.I think the poster is pretty great. Isn't the advertising industry inheritently cynical anyway? As for outsider/"lowbrow" art being in, well I'd say it's verging on tired at this point, but the market defines that for us.The image is a pretty accurate reflection of the attitude a lot of people have out there these days in the world. Good for the Ad Industry to at least reflect that, no?

Posted by David Goldin at 9:54 pm on December 22nd
This post and the thread of comments here are proof that this was a successful poster. It's free publicity for the ADC and how they cause a stir. Better to be talked about than ignored. I didn't know what to make of the poster when it arrived, I laughed, I cried. It has EVERYTHING that is on the news every day. Is that Jon Bennet?


Have You Seen the Worst “Call For Entries” Poster Ever?
January 05th, 2007 Category: TexasDesign
At TexasDesign.com we try to be positive about our profession. We know that there are designers out there with different talents and abilities. But, today, we came across something that is absolutely the worst “Call for Entires” poster ever.

They all came down yesterday when the Art Director’s Club “Call for Entires” poster came to us in the mail. Eagerly pulled off the tape, read the outside flap, unfolded the poster and found (the poster is so bad we do not want this on our front page) …
Sorry TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York this is the worst concept and execution of a “Call for Entires” poster we have ever seen. So much for your “Disruptive Ideas” this concept is negative and poorly executed. I have seen Norbert’s work and while I don’t like the tone, I do appreciate his artist stance, but even this illustration is not up to par for the quality that we have seen in the past. Here is what Richard Metzger, “Disinformation: The Interviews” said about Norbert’s work:
“Contemporary religious painter Norbert Kox is one of America’s most important Visionary artists. His self-described ‘apocalyptic visual parables’ utilize powerful symbolic metaphors aiming to shake modern man from his spiritual malaise and clear away centuries worth of mistranslations of the Bible.”
OK, I am all for “symbolic metaphors” but the art depicted above is simply sophomoric. I look forward to getting a new “Call for Entires” poster and clearing my palette of this distasteful garbage.

The old man looking up the little girl's skirt while popping Viagra is pretty tasteless.

Paul Schmelzer, managing editor, Walker magazine
Best use of visionary art in a marketing piece: Art Directors Club Call for Entry, with art by Norbert KoxThere's not much competition in this category, but I'm glad the honor goes to an old friend. Green Bay's Norb Kox (above) has a remarkable bio: born the day the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, he served in the military, became an Outlaw biker, and eventually found Christ and spent nine years in the woods near Suring, WI, developing a personal spirituality that arose from intense study of scriptures. While a clever payoff for ADC's "Final Call for Entries" concept, his "apocalyptic visual parables" have so much more detail and depth.

January 13, 2007 4:38 PM
Art Directors Club Call For Entries Takes On Armageddon
I'll admit I didn't study the Art Directors Club call for entries poster when it came in the mail a couple of weeks ago:
It's intended to be the "Final Call For Entries." But over at Little Green Footballs, a right-leaning political blog, the poster was interpreted like this:
It’s an impressive panoply of moonbat leftist self-loathing, a desolate nuclear wasteland populated by Republican political leaders holding hands with the Devil (lower left), Christians throttling Muslims (lower left corner and center), a priest shoving a lollipop into a little boy’s mouth, gas-guzzling Humvees crushing people, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and a lone polar bear, marooned on an ice floe in a tsunami.
Helen Bitar commented on January 15, 2007 6:49 PM:
I felt relieved seeing the poster, there are great guts exposing the raw nerves that so many people can not feel.

ADC Poster Dubbed A "Panopoly of Self-Loathing"
Will Bloggers Gin up Scandal?
So the Art Directors Club sent out a call for entries for its 86th annual awards. Ho-hum. The accompanying art is a frightscape of apocalyptic imagery featuring Republican leaders holding hands with the devil, Hummers running over people, rising sea levels leading to anorexic surfing polar bears.

Charles Johnson, blogging at Little Green Footballs,has chucked the promotional art into the rightish end of the blogosphere. Oddly enough, of the 424 comments currently, on the site, as many seem to venture into faux-art criticism ("I'll tell you what it isn't ... Guernica") as politics (defense of the featured "neo-cons").
At any rate, from the right-wing blogosphere, it's only a short hop to Fox News, which we've heard is pestering ADC for interviews now.


buzzsawmonkey 1/11/2007 05:18PM PST
This image has drawn a lot of negative comment from professional illustrators, partly because it is bad art and partly because if art directors are going to "outsider" (i.e., untrained) artists, that is not good for the illustration business. (Link above may not work due to site security)
It would be a mistake, however, to imagine that any objection by the artists was on grounds of the image's negative content. If anyone takes a look at the political art, and comments, posted on this illustration blog, they will see a level of enraged BDS which surpasses even that at Kos or DU.

Honcho 1/11/2007 05:20PM PST
The work is a complete ripoff of Robert Williams, an American genius who used to work for Big Daddy Roth and underground comix before becoming a most prominent contemporary artist.

Dr. Manhattan 1/11/2007 05:42PM PST
As a professional artist let me make a few comments and indulge myself.
First of all, it is executed with extremely bad taste. It is reminiscent of the stoner art my classmates used to bring into class (freshman year). Not that I have anything against stoners actually, but it is proof that this artist has not progressed above a 10th Grade level of technique. The color use is vulgar and done with a touch as light as King Kong.
There is no composition to speak of, other than the discreet placement of the objects. This sort of style was common...before the renaissance. It reflects a primitive mindset. The human beings see to lack structure, and have more in common with cartoon characters than with real people. this is also common in high school-level art. People are like inflated sacks, rather than bones and flesh suspended on bones.
I really could go on forever, but the fact that art directors are advertising for a conference with this....is just pathetic. These people are supposed to be professionals.
So in summary, it is vulgar, childish, obvious, poorly planned, poorly executed, and was obviously committed to the page while the artist was under the influence of marijuana.

Geepers 1/11/2007 05:54PM PST
Dr. Manhattan (#141),
The color use is vulgar
it is executed with extremely bad taste
This sort of style was common...before the renaissance.
But other than that it pretty good right?
You can see his web site now: Profesional artists have been inspired to write lengthy reviews delving into the significance of Kox's compostion, subject matter, and historic tradition.

republic 1/11/2007 06:05PM PST
#197 Manfred The Wonder Dog
Pentecostal Christianity
The goon from Wisconsin is as close to being a Christian, as ahmadinnerjacket is.
If he were truly a Christian, the leftist kooks wouldn't let him anywhere near them.
I pity the poor fool.

stormhit 1/11/2007 06:40PM PST
From looking over his website, this Norbert Kox hack is not a liberal or leftist. He's your typical fundamentalist anti-Catholic bigot. Although to be fair, he seems to hate any formal religion. Besides what he says is correct, of course.
The guy is just crazy. I wouldn't bother worrying too much about what's going on inside his drug wasted mind.

1/11/2007 07:20PM PST
As a graphic designer running his own studio and past art director for several major publishing firms I have to say, sadly, that this attitude is rampant in the graphic design industry. I feel like a lone wolf most of the time and avoid political talk with colleagues.
There was even one graphic design magazine that has a running column by two women and one time they printed a list of things they would do and things they would never do. One of the things they said they would never do is "any work for the republican party or a republican". (The art director of the Washington Times wrote them a terse letter and cancelled her subscription)
Another design magazine recently ran a "review" of the U.S. Army website and took every opportunity to slam the military and the Administration in between sentences that actually reviewed the website's merits. Just little snide comments like "oh hey, look, join the Army and kill people. Wow! Neat!" Stuff like that....
And don't even get me started on the political crazies I've worked with the in the world of publishing!

Pawn of The Oppressor 1/11/2007 08:06PM PST
Dr. Manhattan at 141, and other pro artists in this thread, nailed it, saving me the trouble.
Once you realize that it's drawn by somebody who's mentally ill, and pimped by cretins who lack values, taste, and an actual soul, it's not half-bad. I'm sure I could get something similar out of the homeless people who live under the intersections here in DFW. Come to think of it, if they can get around the cost of art supplies, they'd likely make as much money as they do faking injuries and begging for change at the stop signs. I could be their agent. I'd take payment in grubby singles and malt liquor.
"Outsider Art". Translation: "We found some crazy, horrible shit, and if we tell ourselves it's great over and over again, we'll start to believe it."

Alberta Oil Peon 1/11/2007 08:55PM PST
Well, I wouldn't call it Art. It's clearly patterned after Bosch, maybe "The Garden of Earthly Delights"?
But it's not art. It's a tolerably well-drawn polemical cartoon. It's visually rich, and has a lot going on in it, positively chock-a-block with End-times metaphors, and recognizable caricatures of famous politicos and archetypical bogiemen.
I found it kind of entertaining to pore through it and find all the references, like it was a big puzzle picture.
And given that it's being used as a promotional poster for an art contest, it's obviously working, based on the number of comments it's garnered here.
But I still wouldn't hang it on my wall.

tangonine 1/11/2007 09:08PM PST
#380 Alberta Oil Peon
And given that it's being used as a promotional poster for an art contest, it's obviously working, based on the number of comments it's garnered here.
If you define "promotion" as derision and mockery, well yeah sure. Hope you're not employed by an ad agency.

victor_yugo 1/11/2007 09:47PM PST
My complaint submitted to Yahoo! (auto-links due to Charles' code):
This complaint concerns a Yahoo! sponsorship. I could not find a proper place to post this, so I am using the Home Page feedback form.
I was shocked to find out that my Yahoo! Mail subscription fee is supporting a blatantly anti-freedom "art contest" at the Art Directors Club. The Yahoo! sponsorship is clearly indicated on their home page, [Link: http://www.adcglobal.org/main.html] and their political tone is clearly indicated in the promotional "artwork" designed for the contest, [Link: http://www.adcawards.org/images/ADC86CFE.jpg] . If the picture is any indication, this contest is nothing more than a gathering of "artists" opposed to the very culture that made Yahoo! possible.
Please, please tell me that someone will get the corporate powers-that-be in Yahoo! to re-consider this mess.

Alberta Oil Peon 1/11/2007 11:06PM PST
#383 Tangonine
I'm sure the moonbats, (and isn't that pretty much a given in the art world?) view this piece with more awe than derision. You have to remember the crowd this is pitched at.
And you know what they say in Hollywood about publicity. As art, the picture sucks. As an attention-grabbing poster, which is its stated purpose, it's pretty effective. Controversy is pretty good publicity.
"If you define "promotion" as derision and mockery, well yeah sure. Hope you're not employed by an ad agency."
No, I have a real job. :>)

bubbasbbq 1/12/2007 02:45AM PST
I showed this piece of "art" to my wife who, too, is a professinal artist and graphic designer. she told me it looks like something you would normally find graffiti'ed on a shithouse wall. Other than that the "artist" shows about as much talent as a cat with a paintbrush on his tail.
I personally figure it is a window inside the mind of a moonbat. They REALLY believe this shit. It just shows me (and confirms what I have felt all along) that anything that "traditional" America is for, they are against. A traditional American becmes a success, (the hummer) they are against it, traditioanl america is Christian, they are against that, too. Traditional America probably thinks that the idea of man-made global warming is pretty much bullshit (I call it a theory on the level of sophistication of believing the earth is flat), they belive man is going to "destroy mother earth". traditional America does not like despots and loves its freedoms, The moonbats go gaga over thugs like castro and Chavez. See a pattern? It is just mindless reactionism. That is all it is. Little boys and girls who refuse to grow up.
bubbasbbq 1/12/2007 02:51AM PST
#400 gromster,
you are exactly right. Again, you prove my theory, liberals hate "traditional" art becasue it is "traditional" nothing more. My wife was telling me about the time she went to an art exhibit in Boston. On one wall was a huge white canvas with a single brown dot on the lower corner. Over to one side these two girls were deep in discussion as to the paintings meaning. After hearing them go on and on about the meaning of this "work of art"m she interrupted them and blurted out, "This isn't art, it is a fucking brown dot! I repeat, there is no art here, it is brown dot!" I swear people who called a turd on a roofing shingle art are phonies who don't want to be exposed as phonies who don't know their asses from a turd on a roofing shingle.

TMF 1/12/2007 05:41AM PST
Portraying priests as pedophiles?
Comparing Republicans to satan?
Mocking obese materialistic white people?
WHoah, the originality!
This guys brain is a cliche ridden rodent turd.

TMF 1/12/2007 05:43AM PST
Another brainless goon with some drawing talent and not a single original thought.
WHen he dies face down in the gutter, THATLL be entertaining

Ann NY 1/12/2007 06:05AM PST
141 Dr Manhattan;
I spent many years in animation for many studios, so I am a professional artist as well. My only nit-pic with your critique is that I would put the developmental age of the artist more in the Jr High/Middle school range. It has a more pubesent quality about it, it's lack of coherence that points to a confused hormonal mind. Much like the artwork of Ralph Steadman (the guy who illustrated Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). Except in Steadman's case, you could see the underlying talent that is absent. I would also say that the piece is a poorly executed homage to Picasso's Guernica. The piece has absolutly no compisitional value at all and is an example of the sorry state of modern art. I would be a tad less critical if the guy were younger, but at his age he should have attended art school at a time when they were still teaching Academic Art.

The 86th Art Directors Flub
What were they thinking?
I just spotted a copy of the 2007 poster for the Art Director’s Club show on a colleague’s desk yesterday and was morbidly curious to see what the ADC had done for their poster this time, immediately recalling last year’s bizarre and racist image combination.
Steven Heller took the 85th Annual ADC Call For Entries poster to task in Voice on the AIGA site last year at about this same time, and it looks like they’re serving an even bigger helping of the same this year…
I’m ready to accept the “I just don’t get it” stamp on my reaction to this, but it strikes me that there was certainly an intent behind this piece when it was made. I simply don’t understand the advertising strategy or the illustrative choices that have been made in developing this year’s poster, but do find it fortuitous that Bennett commented below on the outsider / insider appreciation of many things naive, folk art, or out-of-bounds in the world of art & design.
I’m no stranger to appreciating the awkward, the off-kilter, and the untrained eye in art, but I’m also able to recognize genuinely bad / poor work when I see it. Naive or not, the ADC poster illustration simply looks like something churned out by a half-trained extremist junior college painter, despite the fact that other work by the same artist, Norbert H. Kox, actually seems to have a lot more punch, composition, and artfulness to it.
More important, though, is trying to parse out what exactly the ADC is attempting to say with this poster. It’s no major stretch to catch the “our world’s going to hell-in-a-handbasket” vibe in culture at the moment, and it’s an easy “read” to see the ADC cashing in on the mass hysteria that seems rampant throughout news events and cultural happenings. Beyond that, however, lie questions about whether the ADC rejects these events, relishes them, simply aims to poke fun at them, or had another joke in mind that just isn’t coming through the mean-spirited, bigoted, and crude imagery included on the poster.
• Is the poster evidence of the character of art direction that the ADC hopes to celebrate?
• Is it in any way indicative of the ADC’s view of the state of things?
• Or, like it looks on its surface, is it just one more flippant potshot at social relevance pigeonholed into a half-baked editorial illustration?
On the heels of last year’s muddy “blinging” of McDonald’s imagery, this just seems to forecast a truly stagnant attitude at the ADC. Too bad they’re willing to trade reputation and prestige in for cheap-ass jokes that won’t clearly indicate whether they’re laughing at or cheering for the stereotyping that’s blatantly on display in these images.
Posted by Paul Berkbigler on January 25, 2007. Ping this entry at http://www.beadesigngroup.com/MT/mt-tb.cgi/1770

Adrian said:
Paul, you were unaware of this, but since we are talking about this poster I should share this….
When the advertising for this event was launching we were approached by the Art Director’s Club about helping to promote it. We agreed having not seen this poster. For maybe a day or so we had a little animated gif in our sidebar pointing people to the event. Then Armin posted a link to the poster on SpeakUp. When Bennett and I saw it we decided to pull the ad. We considered posting about it, but decided against it because we didn’t want to give it any more publicity. We came to the conclusion that the only reason the ADC would create something this bad is because they want the shock value and controversy. By talking about it we play into their hands.
Now that we are talking about it, I think the only rational stance any designer can have is to condemn it. The ADC should be rebuked and they should publicly apologize for giving the graphic design community a black eye.
Comment posted on January 27, 2007
p.berkbigler said:
If this was designed with the sole motivation of generating controversy in order to generate conversation that includes the ADC name, then this poster is an even more vapid and vulgar bit of promotion than its crude illustration and distasteful conceptual approach initially suggest. I’ll simply go on record here by stating that I was seriously disgusted by last year’s poster and further repulsed by this year’s poster and that any minor allure the ADC competition held for me in the past has been fully removed by both of these promotional efforts on their part.
If nothing else, I’m wiling to be one among a handful of voices that have raised issue with this.
Comment posted on January 27, 2007
fame is funny said:
Just wow. Bad art is bad art. This looks like a middle school art project. They should have commissioned Mear-1 on this, he has done a lot of art like this only a million times better.
I hadn’t seen last years poster, but when I clicked on it…I was aghast.
Is a 15 year old in charge of this art direction?
Comment posted on January 27, 2007

Bill Kerr said:
Actually, it reminds me of a piece by one of my favorite artists… it just isn’t in the same ballpark as far as skill is concerned.
His name is Matt Furie, and this is my desktop at work. Almost of it is done with colored pencils.
As for the ADC poster, I have to agree that its excecution sucks.
Comment posted on January 27, 2007

Armin said:
Um, you all realize that this all done in biting jest, right? And that the “execution” or “bad art” complaints are inconsequential, right? And that despite what the Call for Entries has in the back, it will still draw 15,000+ entries, right? Please, someone say “right”. Please.
No one ever read Mad magazine around here?
Not everything has to be colored pink and smell of freshly cut grass.
Comment posted on January 28, 2007

Bennett said:
Armin, With all due respect, I find it funny that designers (or anyone for that matter) think that it is ok to say anything you want as long as it is in “biting jest”. Kind of like saying “with all due respect” and then subsequently bashing the person.
I’m still confused what this has to do with a call for entries. Looks like work from a lazy designer.
Oh yeah. Wrong! (except for maybe the 15,000 entries part)
Comment posted on January 28, 2007

p.berkbigler said:
Since I’m no major stranger to inconsquentiality, I’ll stick with the review of Kox’s painting being bad even by the standards of “bad” folk art-style work. I’ll also pose this as a question: when hired, was Kox made aware of the fact that the ADC or TBWA\Chiat\Day might be treating his work as some tongue-in-cheek joke for the design community to snicker at?
Is it self-parody on Kox’s part or is it national exposure for the sake of a cheap joke?
Poor humor and poor art don’t add up to clever jests, whether it’s the ADC or otherwise, and I’m ready to accept the fact that 15,000 other designers might choose to ignore this sort of trash and pay money to support this year’s competition and whatever joke the ADC makes out of next year’s poster.
Comment posted on January 28, 2007

Andy C. said:
I recall the 2006 ADC poster when I was in school and not only did I think it was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, but so did my fellow class-mates and professors.
This year, it didn’t so much as get WORSE as much as it got TERRIBLE. I don’t even know what to make of these ADC posters and honestly…I don’t know if they know either.
Someone needs to tell them to stop.
Comment posted on January 28, 2007

Nate Voss said:
I agree with, well, basically everyone here. This poster is a turd. Somewhere along the way WK lost sight of “concept + execution.” And if the only weapon in your repertoire is “offend to create controversy” sorry, I meant “buzz,” then you’re just on your way out, anyway.
And no, Armin, whom I should hope has stopped reading this, everything does not have to be pink roses. But everything does have to be good for what it is. Appropriate for its message and its audience. Communication is our goal, and this poster is simply poor communication + poor execution masquerading as a “buzz piece.” And I keep needing to put “buzz” in quotation marks because it is just a disgusting buzz-word used by people to cover their own lack of talent.
Comment posted on January 29, 2007

Armin said:
There really is not much to “get”… TBWA came up with the idea of the “Final Call for Entries” and instead of putting some fancy typographic stylings in the back of the poster they put an illustration. An illustration that is about doom. Doom as envisioned by an artist — self-proclaimed “Visionary Artist of the Apocalypse” — whose style is a little raw and themes a little gloomy. They then take current events and trends and satirize them in the poster in stereotypical, crude and obnoxious ways. I much prefer this, to the citrus-ey Call for Entries from AIGA’s California chapters, which I’m sure is much more acceptable to you all.
Plus, the theme of the poster seems quite relevant and appropriate of the times… It’s not gratuitous that some scientists are only giving us five more minutes.
Comment posted on January 29, 2007
tkd said:
I’ve seen this posted discussed previously, and find myself still squarely on the side of … I don’t get it.
Really. I don’t. Is it a joke? If so, then add my request to the growing list: explain it to me. Please. In all seriousness. I have some vague idea of what the joke may suppose to be, but if so - it isn’t funny. Not in the “it’s offensive” sense (though I can easily see how it can be) but in the sense of “how did the ADC approve…this?”
I’ve seen many people question what the point of the poster is. And isn’t such mass confusion of what the message is a failure in the design?
I think a poster with a funny take would be great. It’s just that…this isn’t one of them.
And yes, people are talking about it, which many can construe as ‘any talk is good’, but at what cost to the credibility of the ADC?
Comment posted on January 29, 2007
Simanek said:
I hadn’t seen last year’s. Actually, I think last year’s is pretty funny. The title gives you a cue and then you see McDonalds turned black and surrounded by all kinds of shiny metal plating. I don’t know if it’s racist. Maybe we’re all getting too sensitive. The show Pimp My Ride is certainly making fun of hip hop culture. Not putting it down, just spoofing it. This poster is just making fun of pop culture television. If you can’t make fun with that then I don’t want to hear Chris Rock mock the way white people talk or act ever again, even if it IS funny and a complete generalization.
HOWEVER, this year’s poster is overtly political, offensive and doesn’t give you any cues to the source of their creativity being sarcasm. And it’s ugly. Granted, that’s a matter of taste, but this is a group for professional Art Directors. Art Directors work with popular culture and marketing. That’s the reality. Art Directors are not fine-art artists. Fine-art can do whatever it wants. It’s completely subjective because the presence of an audience is irrelevant (an idea that has unfortunately made fine-art irrelevant in most people’s eyes). Commercial Art/Graphic Design is different in that it is dependent on communicating with an intended audience. I don’t think this is good communication. Those that say the contrary are forgetting the function of the poster. Personally, this poster makes me feel as though any self respecting Art Director should totally agree with the ideas promoted by this image. Sarcasm isn’t funny unless everyone knows you’re not being serious. If sarcasm fails, then the communication is ineffective.
Comment posted on January 29, 2007

p.berkbigler said:
My contention (and it sounds like other people feel similarly) with this isn’t entirely against raw, rough, or cruder rendering in illustration / painting – taste and aesthetic values are definitely the arbiters in terms of preference or deference for the amount of finesse or bluntness in artistic technique. The visual world doesn’t have to be filled with bright boxes of cleanly labelled oranges to please my eyes or pass my aesthetic criteria.
Relevant? – timely? - I won’t argue that the armageddon / end times observations don’t resonate at this point in time. Even with that one-line joke in mind, this doesn’t fully serve that concept without adding a lot of hard-to-swallow bile. Extremism masking as the satire of extremism is still the same spade in question.
The roots of my contention with this poster lie squarely in this thought: if this image had come from any organization other than the ADC I’d suspect larger numbers of the design community would simply write it off as some hack effort by an organization with an axe to grind and no major illustration budget. Coming from the ADC, it draws more attention and poses more thorny questions, but doesn’t manage to polish this piece beyond the point of shinola.
Comment posted on January 29, 2007

michael said:
Geeeez, it’s a funny poster. gas guzzling hummers, dead birds, priests giving children candy, Wal-Mart, asteroids, foreign rulers riding bombs, anororexic polar bears, obesity, natural disasters, preteen beauty queens, crazy attention loving celebrities and people loving to watch, paparazzi, hurricanes, angry dachshund?, nuclear bombs, people killing in the name of religion, politicians and the devil, death, destruction, folks driving while talking on their bluetooth headsets, i know i didn’t get everything. What’s not to love? It’s the end of the world perhaps, your last chance to enter in other words. Could this have been the poster for the 46th Annual ADC? I guess, It’s a sign of the times? and as far a the illustration goes, i think its perfect, it wouldn’t look right if it were anything else, a realistic style drawing or something. As much as that type makes me puke, it still works. nice gradient, how’d they do that? I stopped trying to “get it” right away, and instead, just enjoy the slight smirk on my face every time I see it. how a person could overlook the posters sarcasm/humor is beyond me. so instead of pitching your poster in the trash, send it to me please. don’t be a art snob, appreciate Mr. Kox’s vision. love, michael
Comment posted on January 29, 2007
alex said:
hey, the idea is a good idea, but maybe it is not the best illustration, don´t think so?
i saw the mear-1 ones and looks so much better.
controversia y provocacion son la base de la notoriedad
agree with the idea, dont like art.
Comment posted on January 30, 2007
Andy C. said:
I don’t know how anyone can defend this terrible poster.
It’s not cutting edge. It’s not gritty. It’s not funny. It’s not smart. It doesn’t resonate on any kind of alternate fringe level that mainstream artists aren’t picking up. It’s just plain bad.
I want to like it, no, I really I do, but theres just no way I can will myself to enjoy and appreciate an over glorified piece of teenage art class crap like this poster.
That’s like asking me to appreciate Comic Sans, it just wont happen.
Comment posted on January 31, 2007
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