What Marketizing of aesthetics mean? Some may argue that art is distinct from advertising and other cultural products. However, as Brown (1995) has shown, art and advertising could be one and the same, aesthetically speaking. Nava and Nava also affirm this viewpoint when they say:
Yet the very fact of excluding advertising from the sphere of ‘art’ forms and identifying it as ‘other’, as defined predominantly by its material concerns, serves not only to differentiate and cleanse other forms, it also obscures the material determinants which operate across all of them. (1992: 174)
In relation to the market, art, speaking from a historical perspective, was distanced from the life world (Habermas, 1984) but, paradoxically, was made increasingly subject to market forces. Take for example, the hip-hop about which Romero writes as, ‘. . . no longer a local art form of street stories and freestyle poetry, the hip-hop sound, style and slang now provide fodder for mainstream movies, television, radio, fashion, advertising and, of course, the news media’ (1997: 30).
According to this line of thinking, art has become marketized; that is, it is valued in terms of market priorities or proxies thereof, including attendance figures or box-office receipts. The question becomes not whether art and aesthetic experience can transcend the market, but whether art can be a liberating force in our lives despite market forces.
One answer may lie in how aesthetics is being marketized. A recent pairing of these terms, life and art, is found in the argument that ‘art’ influences ‘life’ (or the experience thereof), the corollary being that ‘life’ impacts ‘art’. This argument can be found in the works of Marchand (1985), Pollay (1986), and others (e.g. Fowles, 1996; Lears, 1994), especially when they refer to advertising texts as incorporating aesthetic discourses in the service of market priorities. Thus, Nava and Nava (1992) discuss advertising as an instrument of aesthetic commoditization and consumer socialization. According to these various authors, advertising acts as a symbolic expression through which consumers establish identity. On a slightly higher level of consumer experience, advertising also tries to offer moments of aesthetic stimulation, entertainment, and the pleasure of art. Advertising is able to do this because it becomes a proxy for mass art. That is, while the fine arts make an attempt to elevate aesthetic experience to higher levels of engagement, it is the popular arts that translate mass culture and act as a natural ally of advertising in the celebration of consumer products and the role they play in everyday life (Walker, 2001). The view that art and life mirror and interact with each other implies that artistic products, in the way they are displayed, viewed, and received, become inscribed in everyday life patterns. Thus, according to Duhaime et al. (1995: 391), ‘In a manner of speaking, art becomes life and encodes the complexities of life’.
In recent years, philosophers, cultural critics, consumer researchers, and others have recognized the artificiality of the separation between ‘high art’ and popular culture as global media and information technologies accelerate the correspondence between the domains of art, popular culture, and commerce (Boethius, 1995; Gans, 1974; Holbrook et al., 1989; Levine, 1988; Lipovetsky, 1994/1987; Schroeder, 1997a, 1997b; Solomon and Englis, 1994).
In addition, organization and marketing scholars are examining the aesthetic and performance qualities of the arts as cultural products, which may be of direct import to the marketing of commercial products and services (Deighton, 1992; Grove and Fisk, 1992; Guillet de Monthoux, 2004; Holbrook and Schindler, 1994; Schroeder, 2002), to the typologizing of consumption behaviour (Holt, 1995), and to characterizing organizational initiatives and strategies (Guillet de Monthoux, 2004; Guillet de Monthoux and Strati, 2002). Much of this discussion implies an acknowledgement of the postmodern conditions of life.
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