Conceptual Art Is Misunderstod.

Those that support conceptual art (performance art, video art, social sculpture, happenings etc.) art are mocked by those that do not understand it…and the myth of disbelief, shock, and awe is perpetuated by popular media.

Mimicry is common BECAUSE there is a long history of conceptual art, even when it’s lost.

Shovel by bsabarnowl

Shovel by bsabarnowl

The concepts surrounding this type of art are not new…specifically Praxis’ work MONA: Museum of Non-Visible Art is based on its predecessors. They generated support for their museum in a contemporary way through Kickstarter with the video below:

Even the name Praxis is a lifted reference.

The history of conceptual art that James Franco tries to explain (the fellow on the Jimmy Kimmel Show) has strong roots in the Bay Area, as does video art. That’s why I chose to study for my MFA in New Genres at the San Francisco Art Institute. The Bay Area boasts artists: Tony Labat, Linda Montano, Doug Hall (AntFarm), Sharon Grace, Paul Kos, David Ireland, Karen Finley, and many, many more.

The Museum of Conceptual Art was created by one of my mentors, Tom Marioni. Tom is a big fan of Marcel Duchamp and the Readymade. represents 12 years of conceptual art education and I’m constantly asked, what for?

Simply, as Cathy Malchiodi writes, the massively important restoring power of imagination.

The phrases “art heals” and “art saves” have become ubiquitous and will continue to circulate; like many catch-phrases, they are just too cool to go away. Like any popular slogans, they blur real meaning; in this case the actual purpose of art is often forgotten.

Cathy summarizes further synthesizes and interprets Ellen Dissanayake’s book What is Art For?

1) Makes life special.
2) Engages the senses.
3) Involves rituals.
4) Enhances community.

When was the last time you went to an art show and got an experience, a prize, a few bucks, and a great story and thought differently about the present moment you just experienced. Free Memory. Free Money. Free Ideas…and a 2 minute smile free from economic stress. Or was it referencing the financial collapse, throwing money in a hole, and making peons work for it doing crazy tasks that don’t mean anything by diverting their own lust for financial gain? Why did they follow the rules of the over arching system? The title of the piece of mine is “Free Money, Sticky Fingers” made at SomArts. Check out their open call for more art in the hole.

Sound like art?

Sound like MTV’s Jackass?

Sound like conceptual art?

Is everything art?

Is everyone an artist?

That’s why I can auction a crispy 100 bill and get $115.00 for it and be present in hundreds of people’s minds.

Thank you R. Mutt

When critiquing or defending artwork remember three core concepts: intent (what did the artist want to express), context (where, when, and who are they showing it to), and liability (will it put the artist or anyone else in danger, will it cost money from the artist or public, does it exclude anyone, does the artist take responsibility for the piece).

It all matters. Or maybe the medium is the message, or maybe the medium is the massage.

More developments concerning Obay Pills and

Today I was called by Dan Lauckner from C·T·V Southwestern Ontario, he found and used the Whois database to get my contact information just like Jakub. There is a potential that he may call back Monday for more information.

I also received comments from the author of the blog “And She Knits Too”. She has a couple of posts one about the posters with images of the little girl.
Photo of Obay Pills Females from
She also reports that there is a phone number to call now 1-888-YOU-OBAY. In the comments of “And She Knits Too” there are a bunch of great theories about drug companies and propaganda and how drug laws are different there than in the USA.

Addressing confusion between and Obay Pills Posters in Canada

Presently, I don’t know who made these signs.

Obay Pills Sign in Canada from Jakub

The text on the sign reads:

My son used to have his own hopes and aspirations. Now he has mine. Thanks Obay!

The text on the bottle reads:

If they can’t see it your way, it’s time for Obay.

My interest is piqued, as I have received two emails asking about Obay Pills, the first on February 12, 2008 from a Canadian named Jakub which included the above photo. The second on February 13, was from a Toronto journalist named David Silverberg who wants an interview. I have already responded to both inquiries and am anticipating a response.

I have now done a few web searches, since then and there’s a lot of buzz about the project at Yahoo Answers and Above Top Secret.

I have endeavored to send an answer to the Yahoo Answers group, but because the question is over 5 days old it no longer is accepting direct posts. The question is still listed as “undecided”, and I have sent my answer to the customer service folks at Yahoo. Hopefully they will post my reply as listed below:

I interpret the bus stop poster “culture jam” presently in Canada as a parody ad campaign which critiques adults and calls for more active parenting. By using a pun, Obay and it’s relationship to obey a direct command, the group responsible wishes to show how drugs are no substitution for “present” adults responsible for child rearing. In addition the Obay Pills bring to mind how overly zealous parents can map their wishes onto the lives of their children, especially when they are making the medical decisions for their offspring. The ad seems to be in response to the drugging of youth and the increase in diagnosis of ADHD. Regarding who would fund such a campaign, I look to the ongoing war between the Church of Scientology and Psychiatry professionals, and will be interested to note who funded the campaign.


The project for which I am responsible: Obay “The Commodiphile’s online Marketplace” also comments on mental states and is the top Google hit and likely where people are getting the false notion that I created the Obay Pills Campaign. The following is the explanation of my intent with and a brief time line:

For certain individuals Ebay has become a lifestyle, an extreme use of the service where people are a slave to their auctions, so dependent on checking up that it interferes with daily functioning. According the DSM-IV, the manual for diagnosing psychological disorders, this would be a criterion for a type of obsessive-compulsive behavior. Commodiphilia, diagnosed as assigning value to valueless objects in the off chance that it may be worth something to another disparate individual, is an artist coined term that references both the commodity, and the sexual perversion of pedophilia. critiques the mega-consumerist culture that surrounds Ebay, and is both a visual pun and a cautionary piece that succeeds when the user questions why they are so involved with buying and selling of the most mundane possessions.

October 2002, made live on Internet

May 2004 Artist talk and exhibition catalog “Buy Sell or Buy” at Pace University, New York, curated by Jillian Mcdonald

November 22, 2006 contacted by Intellectual Property Counsel
eBay Inc. to disable links and disclaim affiliation between Obay and eBay

December 2006 changes instituted to the satisfaction of Counsel.

January 2008 discovered citation to the artist coined term “commodophilia” [sic] in an exhibition catalog of artist residencies (Nicky Bird) Stills Edinburgh 2004 written by Iliyana Nedkova.

Febuary 12, 2008 contacted by a curious Canadian about‘s affiliation with Obay pill posters.

February 12, 2008 web search provides multiple sightings in Canada of Obay pill posters. Postings on Yahoo answers and Above Top Secret

February 13, 2008 contacted by Toronto journalist David Silverberg through asking if I am affiliated with Obay posters in Canada.

February 13, 2008 responded to curious Canadian and David Silverberg with the creator of Pete Ippel’s analysis of the Obay pill campaign. Also submitted answer to Yahoo Answers through their online help page, as the question was still “undecided” after 5 days yet closed to more answers.

I hope this clears up any questions you may have please contact me if you have any more.

Best wishes,
Pete Ippel
Artist and creator of