Buyways: Billboards, Automobiles, and the American Landscape (Paperback)
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The highway has become the buyway. Along the millions of miles the public travels, advertisers spend billions on images of cola, cars, vodka, fast food, and swimming pools that blur past us, catching our fleeting attention and turning the landscape into a corridor of commerce. A smart, succinct, and visually compelling history of the billboard in America, Buyways traces how the outdoor advertising industry changed the face of American commercialism. Taking us from itinerant bill-stickers of circus posters in the 19th century to the blinking, beeping, 3-D eyesores of today, Gudis argues that roadside advertising has turned the landscape itself into a commodity to be bought and sold as advertising space. Buyways vividly chronicles the battles between environmentalists and businessmen as well as the response of artists, from New Deal photographers who satirized the billboard-infested landscape to commercial artists who embraced the kitsch of it all. It also shows how advertisers tapped into the American mythology of the open road, promoting mobile consumption as the American Dream on four wheels. Entertaining and brilliantly illustrated, Buyways is a vibrant road map of the new geography of consumption. Also includes an eight page color insert.
About the Author
Catherine Gudis is an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma and received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. She has worked for several museums, including The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and is the editor of numerous art books, among them Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s and A Forestof Signs: Art in the Crisis of Representation.