Retail Traffic

The Art of Shopping

Shopping is an art; an art of seduction, designers will tell you. The tricks of the trade — the soothing architecture of the store, the mannequins, the display cases bathed in golden light — are all employed to tempt the consumer.

No wonder artists have been so infatuated with shopping. In Shopping: A Century of Art and Consumer Culture, that infatuation gets center stage. On exhibit at the Tate Liverpool through March 23, Shopping explores the relationship between the display and consumption of commodities and contemporary art.

The show includes more than 240 works, such as Tom Sachs' high-low mockery Prada Valuemeal (above right) and the first reconstruction of American Supermarket, a 1964 collaboration by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Billy Apple and Robert Watts, complete with meat, cheese and fruit counters, neon signs and Muzak. The show also explores identity in the consumer age with Barbara Krueger's I Shop, Therefore I Am (below) and Andreas Gursky's giant photograph of the New York Prada store juxtaposed with 99 Cent II, his saturated shot of an American discount store.

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