Frequently, we’re asked if we collect any of our street banners ourselves. Yes, absolutely! Just like you, we fall in love with banners that we just can’t resist. But just like some of you, sometimes we’re indecisive and the street banners get snatched up before we can buy them. Knowing full well that these are limited-edition banners, that when sold out, they’re all gone, and that none more will be produced, we get that pleading feeling that appears in emails from customers when a great banner has just sold out, “Is there anything you can do? I really had my heart set on that banner, but I just…” But in affairs of the heart, you fall in love again, albeit with the slight torment of having missed out on the last one.
Our all time regret? The one that got away from us. We hesitated. Couldn’t make up our minds. And whoosh, it was gone! Sol LeWitt’s Five-Pointed Star with Bands of Color.
When we started BetterWall, we were lucky enough to have The Art Institute of Chicago as our first museum partner. They pulled out a bunch of street banners from their archives and we promptly started working at obtaining copyrights from the rights holders of the art so that we could sell the banners. The concept of reselling street banners was novel so getting right holders and their representatives to first understand and then sell us the copyright usage was somewhat of an involved process.
The Art Institue of Chicago crop of archived banners were top notch, visually striking with many top artists. But the one banner that just struck us was Sol LeWitt’s Five-Pointed Star with Bands of Color. We’d already been huge fans of LeWitt, but a work of his on a street banner spoke to the very essence of LeWitt’s ideas around conceptual art: “all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.”
In fact, LeWitt often had assistants use detailed instructions to create his art. It’s not that the scale of art was too large to do alone or that it truly required assistance, it was that at his core, LeWitt believed that the physical result of the artist’s conceptualization was secondary.
What better embodiment of such thinking than a silkscreened street banner created by a third-party printer! We loved the idea of a Sol LeWitt painting reproduced on a vinyl street banner because in many ways, there was really no distinction between the one hanging in the museum and these three banners hanging in the streets of Chicago. All had been created using detailed instructions and none by the artist himself. All were equally original or not!
But we hesitated. And then they were gone! Sold out.
That said, we did fall in love again. On some others, we didn’t hesitate and here are two of our favorites. The Otto Dix is currently hanging in our living room.Posted in Behind the Scenes