Grace Jones and the Advert-Garde

She's largely vanished from both pop culture and advertising, but for a while there in the '80s, Grace Jones was everywhere. Though she was a singer in the New Wave genre, and an minor actress in a series of forgettable films (including one of the worst James Bond pictures, "A View To A Kill"), she's best remembered purely for her image and style. Andy Warhol first was fascinated by her appearance, and following her makeover to her flat-topped, aggressive, androgyous look, the rest of the world took notice as well.

With her sleek, sinewy body, feral expressiveness, penchant for exotic clothing -- and her apparent willingness to be treated as more as a prop than a person -- she became visual shorthand for the edginess and "coolness factor" of which so many advertisers (or more often, their ad agencies) aspire. Call it the Advert-garde, if you will, the leveraging of the boundary-pushers in art and culture for the purposes of marketing.

Motorized vehicle makers especially seemed to embrace her primal, unsettling appeal:

(And if you think the above image is freaky, see it in the commercial:

By the end of the decade, the "shock of the new" she represented became the shrug of the familiar." And you know what familiarity breeds.


Popular posts from this blog

TV star skewers Minneapolis advertising egos

Innuendo -- It's the American way

Read the list! See the movie poster!