Market Forces / Part II: Consumer Confidence

this looks pretty cool:

carriage trade invites you to a closing reception for

Market Forces / Part II: Consumer Confidence

On Wednesday, July 2 beginning at 7pm

carriage trade

94 Prince St. 2nd fl New York, NY 10012

(between Greene St & Mercer St.), n/r train to Prince Street

open: Thursday- Sunday, 1 pm- 6 pm

Featuring work by:

David Baskin

Dara Birnbaum

Dan Graham

Filip Noterdaeme

Ron Rocheleau

Walter Robinson

Monika Sziladi

Momoyo Torimitsu

JeongMee Yoon

In the next months domestic political issues will be:

a. As contentious as ever

b. About the same with politicians still arguing

c. Best ignored — as I do today

question from

The consumer confidence index serves as a barometer of the nation’s collective (consumer)

psyche, a monthly taking of the pulse that sheds light on the current mood and purchasing

power of the American consumer. Responsible for roughly 75% of the economy, maintaining

a regular consumption of goods and services among the public is critical to sustaining

economic growth. While the index has the aura of scientific measurement, the thing

being measured is inherently psychological, more dependent on “sentiment” (a term

for a similar index) than hard fact. In the aftermath of 9/11, genuine concern broke

out within the business community about the possibility of a traumatized public

that would lose focus and, out of fear or a sense of doubt, fail to return to the

nation’s malls and stores. Politicians (Rudy Giuliani) and media figures (Gossip

columnist Liz Smith) urged and occasionally chided a stunned public to do their

“patriotic duty” and report to the checkout line forthwith.

The most significant annual right of consumer activity is the day that has come

to be known as Black Friday. Revving the economic engine full tilt, this first Friday

after Thanksgiving lays bare the competitive and sometimes brutal realities of “getting

the best deal”. Featuring the consumer version of the mosh pit, the crowds crashing

the gates on Black Friday often show no mercy, with at least one or two unfortunate

souls being stampeded in their innocent attempt to acquire the newest technological

gadget at a once in a lifetime discount. Along with the need to “be the first” exists

an almost survivalist mentality that pits one consumer against another, in a race

to avoid losing out by failing to obtain the coveted item. Underneath it all is

the monumental pressure of the media’s version of “the Holidays”, which tests the

consumer’s devotion to God and Family in a month long orgy of product-laden sentiment.

While Black Friday represents the pinnacle of consumer culture, one’s “buying power”

is at the core of their everyday identity as a consumer. With the increasing sophistication

of demographic research and applications, consumers may seamlessly match themselves

with brands readymade for their particular lifestyle. No longer objects that are

lifted from the shelves and purchased according to need, products now carry with

them far reaching associations, that, when assembled with their appropriate counterparts,

emerge into a full fledged belief system that often trumps politics in its significance

to daily life. In this second part of Market Forces, the exhibition’s focus will

be on the underlying psychology of consumerism and its objects, with work that

presents an often skeptical and ironic detachment with respect to one of America’s

most favorite and absorbing pastimes.



carriage trade

94 Prince St. 2nd fl

New York, NY 10012


Peter Scott / Director, []

Amber Vilas / Gallery Assistant, []

Sasha Noe / Producer, []

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