We all know that sex sells but does the same go for depictions of violence against women? The Standard, a small chain of boutique hotels, ran an ad in the summer issue of Du Jour magazine and it is causing quite a bit of controversy based on this notion. The company (which boasts trendy hotels in Los Angeles, Hollywood, New York and Miami Beach) has been placing ads in smaller magazines for the past year (think: Fantastic Man, Interview and CR Fashion Book).
Each of the campaigns features a photograph previously shot by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm. They’ve been attention-grabbing in the past (Wurm’s work is known for pushing boundaries), but it seems the hotel’s latest campaign takes the cake. The image depicts, well, according to many, domestic violence and violence against women.
Feminist blog, Make Me a Sammich, was the first to discover and address the ad campaign, claiming the image, in connection with The Standard’s endorsement, “sends a message that dead women make great advertising fodder.” The blog’s writers have since created a Change.org petition calling on The Standard and Du Jour to apologize.
The Standard has pulled the ad and replied with the following statement:
“The Standard advertisement utilized an image series created by the contemporary artist, Erwin Wurm. We apologize to anyone who views this image as insensitive or promoting violence. No offense or harm was intended. The Standard has discontinued usage of this image.”
The writers over at Make Me a Sammish (who are not terribly pleased with the response) have “translated” The Standard’s statement to mean the following:
“This is art, dummies. Blame the artist, not us. We don’t see it that way, but we’re sorry you do, and if you do, it’s not really our fault. We didn’t mean to do anything wrong, ergo, we didn’t and/or you should let us off the hook because our intentions were not evil. We were done with this campaign anyway, so here’s a bone.”