Walm-Art.com is a conceptual exploration of the interdependent relationship between art and commerce and how museums address the need for corporate sponsorship while striving to maintain curatorial integrity of public exhibitions and educational programming. Freyer critiques the increasing presence of art-based merchandise available in museum stores located at gallery exits as the over-commercialization of art, yet recognizes these shops as a welcomed source of added income for struggling museums. As visitors conclude their art-viewing experience, they have no choice but to shop for commercial reproductions of original artwork, related books, postcards, mugs, ties and a selection of items with no connection to the exhibition whatsoever.
Walm-Art.com was a fully functional “museum store” curated by Freyer—one that solely “sells” objects from a local Wal-Mart Super Center at museum store prices. Within his creation, Freyer is sole marketing agent for the store for which he has produced an array of promotional materials, including a glossy, color brochure, reminiscent of retail store circulars, available in the exhibition space for viewers/consumers and a Web site for online shoppers. By removing and isolating the banal—a rainbow-colored umbrella, ice cube trays, a soup thermos—from the gray homogeneity of the super store shopping experience, Walm-Art.Com invites museum-goers, online participants and legions of Wal-Mart shoppers to reflect on our personal and cultural relationships to the singular object in an environment of near-suffocating mass production and consumption.
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