New York City Art Collective Replaces Decaying Phone Booth Advertisements With Artwork and PSAs

Art in Ad Places is a collective of artists who replace advertisements, primarily in unused phone booths, with fresh artwork and PSAs in various New York City neighborhoods.

The collective works with local, national, and international guest artists. One such guest artist is Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere and a good friend of Laughing Squid, who partnered with fellow artist Abe Lincoln Jr. to “improve” a lottery advertisement inside an old phone booth in Manhattan.

Todd also put out an artist’s statement about the piece.

Outdoor advertising is a blight on our city streets. The decaying phone booth has long been the most egregious example of this visual pollution. These almost always out-of-order structures offer no benefit to our streets and exist only to display advertising. For Art in Ad Places, I chose to replace a Powerball advertisement both because the lottery is a regressive tax on the poor, and because I thought it would be fun to mess with the digital display. As the Powerball jackpot grows over time, the number will get closer and closer to displaying the actual odds of winning: 1 in 292 million. I’m happy to see that the pay phones are finally starting to come down in the city, though I’m not sure the LinkNYC replacements, with their even brighter ads and their sketchy surveillance technology, will be much better.

The organization began when co-founder Caroline Caldwell found herself having to see an unattractive advertisement every day in her Greenpoint, Brooklyn neighborhood.

In the spring of 2016, there was a billboard in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It advertised Brazilian butt lifts. Art in Ad Places co-founder Caroline Caldwell had to look at that ad every single day on the way to work. She hated the message it sent, and how it made her (and undoubtedly others) feel about her body.

So Caldwell, along with co-founders writer RJ Rushmore and photographer Luna Park, decided to do something about it.

Art in Ad Places is a response to the belief that money can buy access to eyeballs, no matter the message. It is a small effort to clean up public space: Instead of ads making people feel inadequate, let’s fill our lives with art that makes people feel… anything else. We are a team of artists and fans of art who believe that our public spaces would be better if we got rid of billboards, or replaced their messages with artwork and PSAs.

submitted via Laughing Squid Tips