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designing-exhibit-v-ad-webDesigning Desire: The Cultural Effects of Marketing, examines marketing’s influence on creating, promoting and perpetuating cultural norms and its social impact on specific groups of people. The exhibition is on view October 8, 2012, through February 9, 2013, in the Brooks Stevens Gallery.

An Opening Reception will be held Gallery Night, Friday, October 19, from 5 – 9 p.m., and a Gallery Talk, “The Changing Attitudes and Approaches of Marketing Since the Post-war Years,” will lead a series of Gallery Talks beginning Thursday, October 25, at 7 p.m. in the Brooks Stevens Gallery.

The images and ad campaigns comprising the exhibition are viewed through a lens of anthropology. Co-curator and anthropologist Katinka Hooyer, Ph.D. candidate, said, “Like other cultural phenomenon, products and their marketing have complex interrelationships with the societies that produce them. They reflect and define the values and perspectives of the era in which they are created, as well as contribute to the ongoing evolution of culture.”

Designing Desire begins its critique in the post-war era, continuing through the marketing of today.The exhibition reveals the cultural dynamic of socially desirable ideals during the mid-twentieth century, and how cultural perspectives have changed over time.


“Although this exhibit often presents a critical view of many marketing efforts, the aim is not to be negative, but to stimulate heightened awareness and an ongoing questioning of the methods and values behind these efforts,” Hooyer added. “It equips us to become more empowered and savvy consumers, as well as more morally attuned designers of both products and their marketing programs.”

Co-curator and MIAD Director of Galleries Mark Lawson said the exhibit has something for both the public and designers, “The exhibit provides a new lens for the public to view advertising, both in everyday life and in a global sense’ for design practitioners, it highlights the significance of broad social considerations of their work.”

Gallery Talk schedule:

January 24: Workshop
“Design Anthropology for Social Change” – Katinka Hooyer, Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Anthropology at UW-Milwaukee with a background in marketing and design research.

What is design anthropology? How can ethnography enhance and improve peoples’ experiences? Often times, we do not consider the influence our values and culture have on our designs, or how they limit our creativity and the effectiveness of our work. How can we better understand the point of view of those we design for? Can we investigate broader social change through an ethnographic approach to design? This workshop will provide you with a toolkit of questions to ask (and the techniques used to answer them) that offer a deeper understanding of human behavior. We will apply these tools to your current projects, so bring your ideas and your notebooks.

January 31: Talk
Hank Willis Thomas, a photo conceptual artist working in themes related to identity, history and popular culture. Much of Thomas’ career has been focused on the effects of marketing on culture and individual identity. He is represented by the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City.


October 25: Panel Discussion
“The Changing Attitudes and Approaches of Marketing Since the Post-war Years”
Moderator: Phil Belair, MIAD Chair of 2D/4D Design
Panelists: Jean Grow, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of the University Fine Arts Minor, Marquette University; Ken Hanson, CEO and Founder, Hanson Dodge Creative; Mark Catterson, Executive Creative Director at HY Connect; Dan Augustine, Art Director, Noise Inc.

November 1: Talk
“Advertising: The Other Side of the Story” – Gary Mueller, Founder and Creative Director at Serve Marketing, discusses how Serve has changed the way people look at the advertising profession.

November 29: Talk
“Gender, Identity and the Pharmaceutical Imaginary” – Michael Oldani, Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology at the UW-Whitewater with nine years of professional experience as a pharmaceutical marketing representative.

Images are from Designing Desire.
Click here to see the 2012-2013 Exhibition Schedule.

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