The Tate Modern has released its list of upcoming 2009 exhibitions, amongst which is 'Sold Out' - an examination of how artists have used the medium to 'brand' themselves. As the write-up says, "Going beyond ‘Pop’ as a style, the exhibition will foreground the ways in which certain key artists, since the 1980s, have created their own ‘brands’, engaged in self-promotion and co-opted marketing strategies."
The show starts with the work of Andy Warhol - an artist who manipulated iconic images and brands to reflect back society's innately material values and, in doing so, make powerful statements about the modern world. In subverting other brands, however, he simultaneously created his own 'brand' - one that has gone on to eclipse even his original subjects.
'Sold Out' will raise interesting questions for those in the branding industries. Especially as we see more and more artists - everyone from traditional artists like Banksy to performance artists like P Diddy - break free from the confines of just the products and services they create and expand into entire 'branded' empires.