By IAN URBINA
Published: December 24, 2007
Shopdropping is the practice by anti-consumerist artists of leaving fake products with political messages on shelves.
At BookPeople in Austin, Tex., local authors have been putting bookmarks advertising their own works in books on similar topics. At Mac’s Backs Paperbacks, a used bookstore in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, employees are dealing with the influx of shopdropped works by local poets and playwrights by putting a price tag on them and leaving them on the shelves.
At Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., religious groups have been hitting the magazines in the science section with fliers featuring Christian cartoons, while their adversaries have been moving Bibles from the religion section to the fantasy/science-fiction section.
Ryan Watkins-Hughes, 28, a photographer from Brooklyn, teamed up with four other artists to shopdrop canned goods with altered labels at Whole Foods stores in New York City this week. “In the holidays, people get into this head-down, plow-through-the-shopping autopilot mode,” Mr. Watkins-Hughes said “‘I got to get a dress for Cindy, get a stereo for Uncle John, go buy canned goods for the charity drive and get back home.’”
“Warhol took the can into the gallery. We bring the art to the can,” he said, adding that the labels consisted of photographs of places he had traveled combined with the can’s original bar code so that people could still buy them.
“What we do is try to inject a brief moment of wonder that helps wake them up from that rushed stupor,” he said, pausing to add, “That’s the true holiday spirit, isn’t it?”
Personally, I find this highly amusing. Right up there with the art restoring anarchists. I almost wish I shopped more so that I had come across one of these.