A Silver Lake billboard that recently hawked Avion tequila took on a very different tone last month. "SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION OR FACE CATASTROPHE!" read the near-apocalyptic message in stark black type. On Santa Monica Boulevard, the wisdom of Robert Frost crept by in the same foot-tall, all-caps characters, wrapped around a Metro bus: "Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence."
This campaign, which launched in October and has quickly become both the best-looking and most ubiquitous advertising on L.A.'s streets, is produced by art organization ForYourArt to benefit the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education (or LA Fund for short), a nonprofit co-founded by LAUSD superintendent John Deasy last year. And the artist is none other than the legendary Barbara Kruger, whose signature black, white and red graphics -- like a public service announcement meets reassuring Mad Men-era advertising -- reads spectacularly well in L.A.'s urban environment.
The LA Fund is hoping to raise $1.5 million by the spring to fund a new initiative called Arts Matter and Kruger's work -- actually an original, site-specific piece named Untitled, (Human History) -- is meant to work on two levels, says LA Fund executive director Dan Chang. The campaign is meant to both communicate the critical importance of arts education funding to Angelenos and deliver that art to the city in a kind of mobile gallery. "It's about the awareness of getting public art into the streets of L.A. and making it accessible to people who wouldn't otherwise see it."
Over $4 million in ad space was donated by Clear Channel and CBS to support the campaign, making it pleasantly unavoidable.More »