Market research's most wanted painting
Note: Sorry for being off the air last week, between jury duty (while simultaneously having to keep up with client work) and having my old Mac give up the ghost, it was a bit hectic.
If you're ever looking for a cautionary tale about the misuse of market research, artist team Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid provide some fun examples. The two commissioned market research polls (first in the United States, then in 13 other countries and then the web) to find out what people liked/disliked most in a painting—and then created artworks that contains all the most favored and least favored elements.
The U.S. version of "The Most Wanted Painting" contains a traditional landscape next to a river with lots of blue sky, some deer, a few children—and George Washington. Interestingly, the desired attributed of the most wanted paintings for the other countries were all extremely similar—except for the Dutch who preferred the abstract sort of paintings that were everyone else's least wanted.
The duo followed up their painting project with "The Most Wanted Song," a musical work that will be unavoidably and uncontrollably "liked" by 72 (±12%) of listeners—or so the artists say…
What's interesting about both projects is that neither of the resulting works are overtly "bad"—more just bland and unmemorable. Part of it's the skill of the artists and musician to do the best with what they were handed. But part of it's not surprising, since the works are essentially "me-too" knock-offs of other omnipresent popular works.
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