Translations in Tupperware®
Just in case anyone forgot: bad things can happen when you put corporate flacks in charge of art/design shows.
On view for three days last week on the second floor of the Time Warner Center, the clunkily-named, heavily trademarked Translations in Tupperware® exhibit presented the 20 or so winners of an international design contest that asked "consumers to create a piece of art inspired by Tupperware®." Yes, it sounds kind of lame right off the bat, but when Time Out New York compared this to the excellent Canstruction (coming next month!), I decided to check it out last Thursday.
I should have went with my instincts.
Because Tupperware® is made out of cheap plastic, everything looks like it's made out of cheap plastic. Because Tupperware® comes in so many shapes, sizes and colors—utensils, plates and containers of all description—there's no real challenge here inherent in the material. Plus, you didn't even HAVE to use all Tupperware®, as long as your piece was "inspired" by the product, so basically you could physically make just about anything you could possibly imagine. The biggest problem: though the prize was a very generous $5000 PLUS an all-expense-paid trip to New York (and these "consumers"/artists were from all over the world), the level of creativity was pretty depressing. A non-working wall clock? A race car? A sailboat? A chandelier? Really? The whole thing seemed like something you might see in a middle-school art class (next year Bo and Co are definitely entering!), except for the ridiculous amount of money Tupperware Brands Corporation® obviously spent putting the show on (the printing costs alone for the heavy-duty, 18-page, oversized brochure must have been astromical).
These kind of corporate-sponsored events can be terrific: the entrants in DWR's champagne chair contest are always amazing; the Starbucks salon in Soho last summer was a model of branding-restraint; the aforementioned Canstruction—a charitable exhibition—is a must-see.