Art for all Oculus visitors to enjoy Downtown at the AD ART SHOW

Lauren Durling looks upon the vivid, virtual exhibit.
Photo by Dean Moses

The philosopher Marshall McLuhan once said: “Advertising is the greatest art form of the 20th century.” The MvVO ART AD SHOW 2021 is proving that statement to be true for the 21st century as well.

When considering art, thoughts of advertisements don’t always come to the forefront of one’s mind. However, some of the greatest artistic brains, such as Andy Warhol, created works for commercial use.

For four years straight, the MvVO ART AD SHOW has been showcasing talented artists within the advertising world, and this year’s digital showcase opened to the public on May 3 at the Oculus at the Westfield World Trade Center.

Advertising contemporary artists are showcased in the Oculus at the Westfield World Trade Center. Photo by Dean Moses

Twenty-two screens within the Oculus’ expansive open spaces on a variety of floors are broadcasting curated works from 130 artists to shoppers and commuters alike. Passersby are bathed in a kaleidoscope of hues as they move about the transit hub and retail center.

Providing art for all despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibit’s organizers hope it’s possible that New Yorkers who unexpectedly discover the bright and flashy screens will have their day brightened and uncover a new, emerging artist whose career they can follow.

Curators likewise feel that while the ad industry harbors countless talents, that genius is not always seen by the art world, which allows them to help create a bridge between both realms.

“We are saying where is the next Andy Warhol? Let’s go look for them because they are very creative! This is the first time there is a real, official art platform for artists from advertising,” founder and CEO of MvVO ART Maria van Vlodrop told amNewYork Metro.

Founder and CEO of MvVO ART Maria van Vlodrop. Photo by Dean Moses

In order to be featured, artists applied, and their works were selected by a panel of renowned judges and experts in the field, consisting of former Director of the Andy Warhol Museum Eric Sniner; co-founder of NYCxDesign Ed Hogikyan; Schneps Media President Vicki Schneps; Chair of the AD ART SHOW Laura Skoler, and more. The Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center serves as a walkthrough canvas where Manhattanites of all ages can enjoy.     

“We are really bringing art to where people live, shop, and dine,” van Vlodrop said excitedly.

In addition to the 130 artists who have their work featured, the AD ART SHOW has teamed up with iconic drummer from the Red Hot Chili Peppers Chad Smith to also feature the musician’s own artwork during the virtual show as well.   

“Art in all different forms is amazing. It’s a connecting factor between people, places, and even industries. I can’t wait to showcase my stuff alongside many new and returning artists,” Smith said during the virtual opening of the exhibit on May 3.

The top three winners of the AD ART SHOW were all women: Chanell Angeli, Hyun Jung Ji, and Jessica Alazraki.

After review, the jury panel and judges chose from the top three contestants Jessica Alazarki as the winner. Alazarki is the first female advertising creative to win the CLIO Award for contemporary art since the inception of the MvVO AD ART SHOW.  In addition to winning the award, she also earned a feature on the exhibit’s content platform used by CLIO and a creative immersion day at NBC Universal.

MvVO AD ART SHOW 2021. Photo by Dean Moses

“Working in advertising for the US Hispanic market had a tremendous impact in my paintings and my development as a contemporary artist. I’ve been living in New York City for more than 20 years and having my painting displayed at the Oculus Westfield World Trade Center is incredibly meaningful,” Alazraki said during the virtual opening.

Westfield’s mission has been to reinvent the concept of being together dafter a year of being socially distant and quarantining. Isaac Aden, the Chief curator of AD ART SHOW 2021, told amNewYork regarding the difficult process choosing content to be displayed on the 22 screens throughout the site. One screen even spanned 280 feet to display the digital art.

Isaac Aden, the Chief curator of AD ART SHOW 2021. Photo by Dean Moses

“The content is changing every week,” Aden said, describing the intricate mechanics behind showcasing digital content within a transit and social hub like the Oculus. “We have more ability on what we can show because the way we can interact with the audience. You have people who are just passing by that wouldn’t necessarily go into a museum. It’s a real range. That’s what really excites me because it’s a reflection of what New York City is. It’s the way you would want art and culture to engage.” 

The MvVO AD ART SHOW 2021 is free for all to enjoy Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m., until May 30. In addition to enjoying a spectrum of colors and designs, show partner Eataly will provide visitors with a free coffee and a sweet treat.

Passersby take in the artwork as they make their way through the transit and social hub. Photo by Dean Moses