How many billboards?

Car for Sale. Call…

Feb 28 2010

Brandon Lattu’s billboard advertises a used 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood (veteran luxury model), that really is for sale, in the manner of a craigslist or classified ad. Playing off LA’s car culture, his ad speaks to cars driving by of the car as an object of personal investment often surviving extended, multiple lives and second-hand exchanges. A more human, intimate, and flawed vestige takes the place of what could have easily otherwise been a run-of-the-mill big-name corporate ad for some ‘new’-but-ever-the-same 2010 sedan, minivan, SUV, hybrid, etc. Fortuitously, the ad has been placed on a board at the southwest corner of Fairfax and Pico, directly above a typically dingy corner auto repair shop and garage.

Incongruously mixing the particular graphic vernacular and descriptive shorthand of a private individual’s diminutive, marginal print/online ad with a billboard’s oversized, corporate, and hyper-public mode of presentation—and doing it so bluntly as to almost appear naïve—Lattu’s is one of the most subtly funny works in the exhibition. Even the dumbness of the snapshot of the car, with its anonymous background of working-class single-family homes and city garbage cans, is pitch-perfect. It is ridiculous and kind of genius to consummate the billboard’s advertising function but to do so in order to sell a single personal possession, and a dented used one at that. I hope it is (but suspect it isn’t) the artist’s car. It would be so great if it were and if the billboard led to a sale—I am almost tempted to make an offer myself.

Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer

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