Click the thumbnail images below to view larger images.

 
Fine Art Photo Gallery

 

 

 

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.

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.

Basketry Bottles.

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

Those horrible inspirational posters which businesses love to put up have inspired their own backlash. www.despair.com markets a whole line of “demotivators” products, including this lovely poster, which express a more Dilbertesque sensibility towards workplace culture.

One of the great delights of flying these days is seeing what kind of totally useless and weird consumer goods have appeared in the latest version of the Skymall catalog. They seem to go out of their way to find things no sane person would want if they were shopping at ground level, and could run away. Here for example, a piece of the Hollywood, California sign is being inexplicably offered as an “authentic” piece of New York memorabilia. What was on their minds??

Consumer Kachina.

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

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.

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.

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.

Havana Harry.

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

 

       

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.

 

Kitschy Cars?

The World of Kitsch website is always worth a visit, since it features many pieces of bizarre consumer culture. Some of these, like the car illustrated here, are one-off custom made designs, but if you go to the "objects" section you will find some amazingly awful clocks and furniture. But the category of Kitsch doesn't quite capture what I am after in this website...

     
 

Click here to go back to Richard Wilk's Home PageClick HERE for links to other resources on global consumer culture and global environmental issuesA collection of new buzzwords, meaningless but trendy-sounding descriptions of global change.Click HERE to visit Richard Wilk's Course Syllabi and Assignments page.

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Richard Wilk

Anthropology Department

Indiana University Bloomington

701 E. Kirkwood Ave. SB 242

Bloomington, IN 47405

812-855-3901

wilkr@indiana.edu

 

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