If you've found yourself in Paris lately, you might have noticed Etienne Lavie’s handiwork as you wait for the subway or stroll along the city streets. In the series OMG, Who Stole My Ads?, Lavie strategically replaces billboards and other advertisements with classical paintings. Mingling the hustle and bustle of Paris with iconic works like Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People and Renoir’s La Lecture, the paintings feel so out of place that it’s easy to believe these images might be superimposed. They create an interesting juxtaposition as something that’s unexpected and yet familiar at the same time. By installing these famous works in very public spaces, Lavie is forcing us to give our surroundings more than a passing glance, encouraging us to stop and take it all in.
We’re used to being inundated with hundreds (if not more) advertisements everyday. Rather than trying to persuade us to buy stuff that we probably don’t need, Lavie’s guerrilla art replaces billboards with something that’s engaging and inspirational. He takes the museum outside and makes the daily commute a cultural experience for those who don’t have the time, money, or means to visit a museum where the original copies live. OMG, Who Stole My Ads proves that art doesn't have to exist in a gallery or museum to be successful - it can be anywhere and is for everyone.
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