The Museum of Weird Consumer Culture

Art about consumerism---Hybrids of commodities and handicrafts---Idiotic products

Satire --- intended or unintended.

The most banal, grotesque, ironic, twisted or perverse creations of the capitalist marketplace.

Neuticles.  Prosthetic testicles for your canine companion. In plain English, fake silicone rubber balls to be inserted into a dog after castration. Why? Ostensibly its for the animal, so it won't experience loss. Right. Or maybe they are for the owner?

Havana Harry. Already have a wooden Indian? How about a wooden Cuban cigar-holder? Smokin!

Solar energy at its most absurd. I thought I had seen the worst with the solar-powered insecticide-sprayer. But this one beats it! A solar-powered milk frother for making your cappucino in an eco-friendly way. There are so many absurdities in this product, I don't know where to start. From the Real Goods catalog, also at www.realgoods.com.

Ronald Mcdonald Christmas tree ornaments.Put fast food on your tree.

The Satellite Dish for campers. Don't miss CNN just because you are in the wilderness!

Bulalo Flavor Instant Mami.  This has real meat and vegetables in it, and it actually tasted very good. Made in the Philippines.

Get a Life. Jonathan Schroeder sent me this amazing postcard at Arlandastad Outlet Village – “Sweden’s first American Outlet store.”

Halloween Contact Lenses.  I don’t know what to say. The idea of putting a bloodshot contact lens into my eye – which will make my eye bloodshot for real – is just too bizarre for words. Or how about contact lenses which make you look stoned? From the San Francisco Guardian, 1999.

Prince Lionheart Electric Baby Wipe Warmer.  This is the recall notice for these vital tools of modern living. Consumer Reports says they are a shocking hazard. I find it more shocking that they sold 152,000 of these little items for $25 each! That’s enough money to buy a lot of polio shots or anti-malaria mosquito nets. But we can’t let our baby’s but get cold, can we?

BasketryBottles. The 19th Century Nootka people of the Pacific Northwest made baskets in the shape of glass bottles.

Consumer Kachina. A wonderful painting by Cynthia West depicting the devil of consumption as an evil Kachina.

Pig Tattoos. This is art, not consumer goods. But funny! The artist is Wim Delvoyes and the museum is Middelheim in Antwerp, Belgium. Courtesy of Tine Vinge François.

Trophy Head.The Olmec of ancient Mexico carved giant stone heads of their rulers. Here is one, hopefully a replica, sitting in a front yard in a suburban neighborhood of El Paso, Texas. I took the picture in 1986.

Rice Patch Babies. Hong-Kong's answer to the Cabbage Patch Kid, these are probably made with child labor. The advertisement invites you to sponsor the 'mainland cousins" for immigration. Who gets to play the INS agent?

Name Yourself for a Commodity?Here is a corner of a program from the 1997 Indian Market in Samta Fe, New Mexico.

Bali Kitch. Russ Belk at the University of Utah has a wonderful collection of bizarre consumer culture. Here is a piece of Balinese religious statuary, used to advertise a restaurant for tourists in Bali.

The Right Way to wear a Tie. Used western clothes go all over the world. This picture from Papua New Guinea (also from Russ Belk) shows a recylcled piece of mens' wear. Wait, I think I once saw Dominique Bouchet wearing that tie!

Mr. and Mrs. Average American. A real industrial propaganda poster from the late 1940s, courtesy of Jonathan Schroeder. It was the time of MORE=BETTER.

Pepee.Used by actors in japan to make their genitals glisten when making porno films. Source:Colors Magazine.

Ugly Nipples? The Japanese Liberty Company asks "Do you care about having beautiful nipples while playing around with boys? If you do, their nipple lightening cream is the thing for you. Unsightly brown nipples will be a thing of the past!

The Ultimate Personal Hygeine Product. --feces odor tablets. Another Japanese innovation, these pills promise to make your excrement completely odor-free in three days of use. "...people must be responsible for their odors." says the bottle. 600,000 bottles sold in the first six months, according to Colors Magazine (no. 18, Jan. 1997)

Wear the Best - Wear the West! Soccer (football) is the most popular game in Brazil. The Kamaiura native people of the Amazon have substituted soccer balls for parrot feathers. I think the result is kind of striking! (Colors: no. 22)

Barbie Raid. Turkish advertisement for indoor insecticide dispenser - Johnson Wax uses images of Western nuclear family (note the blonde Barbie on the floor) to sell toxins. Courtesy of Guliz Ger.

The Dog-Diaper Website. This is not to be missed. Capitalism thrives on undoing the excess of capitalism.

The World on the American Roadside. Links to a great website, with pictures of the Parthenon, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Last Supper, and other famous monuments of world (mostly European) culture as they appear in replica in various settings around the USA.

Fartypants. Its hard to overstate how strange and tacky and wonderful this website is. I only hope its a joke and they dont really sell underwear with fart filters built in, and all that other stuff.

Transcendental Trash. A decorated trash barrel from a village in Turkey, courtesy of Guliz Ger. The 55-Gallon drum is a global artifact, ubiquitous everywhere.

Electric Koran. Guliz Ger sends this picture from a shop in the old quarter of Ankara in Turkey. The electric clock is decorated with Koranic verses. The clock is a favorite site for decoration in many parts of the world. In Belize the clock often has scenes from the Bible.

Welcome to Fakeville! This is a sign at the center of Nashville Indiana, a town devoted almost exclusively to the sales of "country" souvenirs and crafts. The marketing of a neo-traditional shopping mall as "a visit with the past" is a characteristic of an American "Disneyesque" blurring of the boundaries between the real and the fake, as described so well by Jean Baudrillard. The long-term question is - does parasitic marketing "steal" our past and leave us without real roots?

MacCoffee. On the front it says it has "True American Taste." On the back the back the instructions are in Russian, and there is a tiny label "Made in Singapore." My student, Candice Lowe brought this back from Kazakhstan.

Coke is It. A ceramic tile maker in Kutahya, Turkey, making a wall decoration in "typical Turkish" style - but wait - those are Coke bottles in the pillars on the side! Another contribution by Guliz.

Poopsie Daisy. A “toilet pre-spray” which “prevents toilet odors from affecting your environment.”  The advertisement advises you to use three sprays before you go. Why this obsession with toilet cleanliness? Contributed by Rick Stepp.

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Last Updated March 1, 2006

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