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Posts Tagged ‘wal-mart’

There’s an in-demand artist who goes to Wal-mart to find subjects. His name is Brendan O’Connell. Maria Godoy writes about him at National Public Radio.

“Most people would be hard-pressed to call Wal-Mart a source of artistic inspiration. … Yet that’s exactly what artist Brendan O’Connell sees in the sprawling big-box stores. For the past decade, O’Connell has been snapping photographs inside dozens of Wal-Marts. The images have served as inspiration for an ongoing series of paintings of everyday life — much of which involves shopping, which O’Connell calls ‘that great contemporary pastime.’ …

“Wal-Mart stores, he notes, are ‘probably one of the most trafficked interior spaces in the world.’ In the tall, open, cathedral-like ceilings of Wal-Mart’s big-box stores, he sees parallels to church interiors of old. …

“As artistic matter, [Wal-mart is] a part of everyday life that seems to have resonated with lots of people. Since [a February New Yorker profile began a] media blitz …  sales of O’Connell’s work have jumped dramatically, he told me [in April]. ‘I sold more in a week than I did in some years,’ he says. …

“The people doing the buying, he says, come from all over the country.

” ‘What I’m struck by is this relationship to brands,’ he says, noting that buyers have called to inquire about specific paintings: ‘ “Do you still have the Corn Flakes? … I want the Maxwell House.” Whatever brand it is that they have a personal relationship with. And that, to me, is fascinating.’ ”


“O’Connell’s work is probably out of the price range of the average Wal-Mart shopper,” adds Godoy. “But he’s passionate about a project to bring art to the masses. The idea behind everyartist.me is to create a collaborative art project involving 1 million elementary school kids across the country. And all the recent attention on his Wal-Mart series has helped jump-start funding for the project … he says.”

(Thank you, Andrew Sullivan, for the lead.)

Image: http://www.brendanoconnell.com
Blond with yams

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I have been reading about Michelle Obama’s latest efforts to encourage good nutrition in childhood.

“Executives from Wal-Mart, Walgreens, SuperValu and other stores joined Michelle Obama at the White House on [July 21] to announce a pledge to open or expand a combined 1,500 stores in communities that have limited access to nutritious food and are designated as ‘food deserts.’

“With the pledges, secured by the Partnership for a Healthier America, which is part of Mrs. Obama’s campaign to reduce childhood obesity, the stores aim to reach 9.5 million of the 23.5 million Americans who live in areas where finding affordable healthy foods can be difficult. In those areas, many people turn to fast food restaurants or convenience stores.” Read the New York Times article here.

On a related note, John sent me a really interesting link from photographer Mark Menjivar, who documents the insides of people’s refrigerators. He includes a one-line insight into the person whose food he is photographing. Unsurprisingly, the fridge with the least food in it belongs to a “street advertiser” who lives on a $432 fixed monthly income.

See the fascinating photo essay here.

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