By on May 24, 2012

This to me is a classic case of the corporate world trying to flex its muscle on the “nobodies”. Is the MOCA the appropriate place for this kind of flexing? Of course not …or is it? Giving the power of curation and enforcement of corporate policies on an exhibition and venue like this is not the way it is supposed to go down. Is MOCA a car lot? Is MOCA a venue for advertisements where the interests of the brand comes before the art? Who empowered them to simply go around and pluck whatever art out of the show to throw in the trash? I made this art on my own dime, traveled down there on my own dime, displayed it on my own time.

According to the HuffPo, media artist Chris Silva had his exhibit at Mike D’s MOCA Los Angeles show, “Bring Your Own Beamer (Projector)” turned off by event staff before the show could even begin. Why? Silva’s “art” was a projected picture of the Peugeot 908 HDI LeMans racer. Quoth Silva,

I was then told that I had to take down what I was showing and that I could show something else if I had it. I was also told that the reason I couldn’t show it is because someone from Mercedes corporate was “pissed” about it and basically took it as a “fuck you” to Mercedes. I asked to talk to the person who made this decision, and was denied, literally told “you don’t want to talk to them, they are pissed”.

While your humble author’s involvement with the “art world” is limited to the occasional Chihuly purchase and the strategic positioning of H.R. Giger prints in his senior-year dorm room to further aggravate a roommate who was already a known suicide risk and prone to terrifying, grotesque nightmares, this whole thing seems a little bit difficult for us to believe. Peugeot and Mercedes-Benz no longer compete in North America, either for sales or for motorsports dominance. Indeed, unless one is simply an ironclad fan of the dearly departed 505 Turbo, it can be easily argued that the two firms have never competed here. Most art-show goers, upon being confronted with a large picture of a Peugeot race car, would probably just think “generic racing vehicle,” not “OMFG I AM GOING TO SELL MY C300 AND FLY TO PARIS TOMORROW TO IMPORT A PUG JUST LIKE CAPTAIN MIKE SOLOWIOW!

While this incident hasn’t done anything to increase the number of Peugeots brought into the country, it has raised the profile of Mr. Silva, who has been able to firmly position himself as an “artist” who uses a projector to put pre-existing pictures on a wall. Perhaps this is less about intra-European rivalries and more about Mr. Brainwash

Thanks to Ronnie Schreiber of Cars In Depth for the tip!

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11 Comments on “The Best Or Nothing: Did MBUSA Censor An Art Show?...”

  • avatar

    An 1986 205 GTI? Way to go Captain Mike!

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Coach Lubbock: Now let’s go out there and do this for art’s sake.

    Art: YO COACH!

    Coach Lubbock: Not YOU, Art!

  • avatar

    My understanding is that Mercedes objected to the image not because it was of a Peugeot, but because it was of a car. Mercedes wanted Chris Silva to display something that its typical customers would find more interesting than a car. Well maintained shrubbery was suggested.

    • 0 avatar

      That I can understand, simply projecting a picture of a car isn’t really art.

    • 0 avatar

      Who doesn’t love shrubbery! And every MB owner knows the value of regular maintenance.
      Yea, I’m sure the marketing morons at MB get “pissed” every time they see a photo of ANY car! Well, at least they say they’re looking out for their “typical customer” whoever that is: Delusional, snobs with too much time (to hang out in MB service lounges) and discretionary income?

  • avatar

    Aw man a W109!! I just wrote about one of these in Murilee’s posting about the first car you remember riding in! Nice to see one again…

  • avatar

    Reminds me of the BMW art cars of the 90’s… but not so much in a good way.

  • avatar

    I keep threatening to buy a Peugeot 404 wagon. If I do, I may have to put a magnet on the back that says “f*ck you, Mercedes!”

  • avatar

    Good thing he didn’t go with a 300 SLR.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    Good thing that Mercedes is unaware of what else Beamer can refer to. Or that the Beastie Boys spoofed that Tri-star pendant ostentation by wearing a Volkswagen logo around the neck on a chain over 20 years ago.

    This article would have made much more sense by letting me know that MOCA is the Museum of Contemporary Art and that “the presentation will include the international debut of the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupé.”

    I was left scratching my head about the acronym and what Mercedes was even doing there.

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