Artist ads aren’t new — what’s up, Chris Burden? — but self-described art “villain” Nate Hill is doing it in one of the most effective, unconventional ways I’ve seen in quite some time. Think about it, what’s the most popular thing on the internet aside from cats? Porn! Whenever naked ladies are attached to something, people suddenly seem become more interested. That’s advertising and here’s an artist capitalizing on it.
For Nate Hill’s newest recent project BananaOption.com, the artist purchased advertising space across several porn websites as a way to get his work to a wider audience. The audience is presumably unaware that what they are viewing — alongside their lovely porn — is an artwork.
The ads themselves embrace the familiar aesthetic of the pesky banner ads that continually attempt to distract us from quality porn time, asking “Who’s better with a banana?” — “Woman” or “White Woman” and redirecting to BananaOption.com. Then, Hill asks again.
Regardless of the chosen answer, each button links to a Google image search result for “woman eating a banana.” The results yield mostly stock photographs of white women eating bananas. A rather surprising development is the project’s successful “click-through” rate. For whatever reason, as many as over 2,000 people have clicked on the oddly placed advertisement. How’s that for an art audience?
The project somehow successfully combines the massive audience of internet pornography — aka the entire internet — yet, at the same time, provides us with a curious bit of social commentary on race and women as homogeneous stock products for the commercial internet landscape, while you’re wanking it.