Collection of Political Advertising

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Artists Antoni Muntadas and Marshall Reese have been compiling a history of television presidential campaign spots for 32 years, tracking the evolution of political advertising from 1952 to the present. The artists will present their latest version of the collection at the Arizona State University Art Museum November 1, and will join Arizona Horizon host Ted Simons to discuss their work.

TED: ARTISTS ANTONI MUNTADAS AND MARSHALL REESE ARE COMPILING A HISTORY OF PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN TV ADS TRACKING THE EVOLUTION OF POLITICAL ADVERTISING FROM 1952 TO THE PRESENT.
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DO YOU WANT A MAN FOR PRESIDENT WHO SEES IT THROUGH AND THROUGH, BUT NOT SO DOGGONED SEASONED HE WON'T TRY SOMETHING NEW, A MAN OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW AND YOUNG ENOUGH TO DO, WELL IT'S STRICTLY UP TO YOU, DO YOU LIKE A MAN WHO IS ALWAYS THERE AND MEASURE HIM AGAINST THE OTHERS, AND WHEN YOU HAVE COMPARE YOU'LL CAST YOUR VOTE FOR KENNEDY, AND IT'S UP TO YOU IT'S STRICTLY UP TO YOU.

FOUR, FIVE, SEVEN. SIX. SIX, EIGHT. NINE.

SEVEN, SIX, FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE.

THESE ARE THE STAKES -- TO MAKE A WORLD IN WHICH ALL OF GOD'S CHILDREN CAN LIVE. [INAUDIBLE] WHY, WE MUST EACH LOVE EACH OTHER. OR WE MUST DIE.

VOTE FOR PRESIDENT JOHNSON ON NOVEMBER 3RD. THE STAKES ARE TOO HIGH FOR YOU TO STAY HOME. BUSH AND DUKAKIS ON CRIME. BUSH SUPPORTS THE DEATH PENALTY FOR FIRST DEGREE MURDERS. DUKAKIS OPPOSES FIRST DEGREE MURDERERS AND ONE WAS WILLIE HORTON, WHO MURDERED A BOY IN A ROBBERY AND RECEIVED 10 WEEKEND PASSES FROM PRISON. HORTON FLED AND KIDNAPPED A YOUNG COUPLE AND STABBED THE MAN AND RAPED HIS GIRLFRIEND. DUKAKIS ON CRIME.

WOMAN. [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] [LAUGHTER]

AMERICA CAN DETERMINE OUR OWN FUTURE, BUT ONLY IF WE OWN IT. FOR AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE, WE MUST CUT SPENDING AND WASTE.
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TED: TWO ARTISTS WHO WILL PRESENT THEIR ELECTION AT THE ASU ART MUSEUM, HERE ARE ANTONI MUNTADAS AND MARSHALL REESE. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

TED: ART EXHIBIT OF POLITICAL ADVERTISING. HOW DID THIS ALL GET STARTED?

ANTONI MUNTADAS: WELL, I THINK STARTED IN 1948 -- '84. I WAS TEACHING AT MIT AND I MEET AT -- ON POLITICAL ADS AND HIS BOOK, SPOTS. AND I HAVE ACCESS TO ARCHIVES TAPES AND I FOUND IT WAS FASCINATING MATERIAL FROM THE '50S AND '60S. AND THAT THEY ORIGINATED AND TO DO A COMPILATION OF THE REALS TO CRITICIZ AND TO ANALYZE AND VIEW THE MATERIAL.

TED: I WAS GOING TO SAY, WHEN YOU WATCH THESE THINGS, THEY'RE WELL DONE. THIS IS TOPNOTCH VIDEO HERE.

MARSHALL REESE: WELL, I MEAN, YOU KNOW, IT'S ROSTER REEVES WHO FOSTERED THE HARDCORE ADVERTISING, ALKA SELTZER ADS WAS THE ONE WHO STARTED IT ALL WITH HIS ADVICE TO PRESIDENT EISENHOWER ON THE CAMPAIGNS AND THE BEST MINDS OF THE BEST ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS, AND THEY SHOULD BE GOOD.

TED: AS AN EXHIBIT, DO YOU PRESENT WITHOUT COMMENT? IS THERE A BOOK THAT GOES WITH THIS? WHAT DO YOU WANT TO FOLKS TO GET OUT OF THIS?

ANTONI MUNTADAS: TO SHOW CHRONOLOGICALLY FROM THE '50S, EVERY FOUR YEARS, THE EVOLUTION, IT'S SEEN CLEARLY IN TERMS OF HOW THEY CHANGING, THE DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES FROM PHOTOGRAPHY TO CAMERA AND OTHER TECHNIQUES OF CINEMA, THE SPECIAL EFFECTS IN A WAY THAT IT'S IMPORTANT TO SEE CHRONOLOGICAL OF THE EVOLUTION, THE CHANGE OF POLITICS AND IMAGE MAKING.

TED: SOME OF THESE THINGS ARE NEGATIVE, SOME SOFT SELL AND SOMETIMES APPEAL TO THE EMOTIONS. GO ALL OVER THE MAP.

MARSHALL REESE: WELL, YEAH, BUT -- I MEAN, I THINK IT'S AN INCREDIBLE HISTORY OF -- NOT -- IN TERMS OF HOW TELEVISION CHANGED AND HOW PEOPLE USE IMAGES AND HOW THEY PERSUADE PEOPLE. AND I THINK THAT THE WAY WE PRESENT IT, THERE'S AN OPENNESS. AND I THINK IT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO LOOK AT OUR HISTORY IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

ANTONI MUNTADAS: THERE'S INCREASINGLY, THE NEGATIVE.

TED: YES.

ANTONI MUNTADAS: THIS IS SOMETHING THAT APPEARS THE LAST 20 YEARS, AND REALLY, REALLY IT'S BEEN -- NOW I THINK IT'S HARD TO SEE POSITIVITY.

TED: YEAH, IN TERMS OF THE AESTHETICS, THE ART OF THE WHOLE THING, WHAT ARE YOU SEEING AND WHAT FASCINATES YOU?

ANTONI MUNTADAS: I THINK OF THE RESULT -- IT'S A RESULT OF A CHAIN OF PEOPLE FROM ART DIRECTORS, AGENICIES AND THE FINAL EDIT. ALL THAT HAVE ARE PEOPLE THAT REALLY ARE DEALING WITH IMAGE IN A WAY THAN TO SAY 30 SECONDS WHAT THEY NEED TO SAY. THEY NEED TO BE VERY, VERY ARTICULATED TO THE PROCESS. IN A WAY, WE COULD SEE ALL OF THESE PEOPLE REALLY ARE -- HAVE THE BACKGROUND OF COMMUNICATIONS.

TED: YES, AND AS FAR AS AN EFFECTIVE POLITICAL AD, THE MOST EFFECTIVE IS THE ONE THAT CHANGES PEOPLE'S MINDS OR REINFORCES THE OPINIONS OF THOSE WHO SUPPORTS THAT CANDIDATE. CAN YOU TELL AN EFFECTIVE AD, CAN YOU TELL THE ONES THAT WORKED AND THE ONES THAT WERENT SO HOT.

MARSHALL REESE: I THINK, YES, WITH HINDSIGHT, FOR SURE. I THINK THE DAISY AD YOU SHOWED WAS ONLY SHOWN ONCE AND IT HAD TREMENDOUS IMPACT. I MEAN, IT WAS -- YOU KNOW, IT WAS REPRESENTING GOLDWATER AS SOMEONE THAT WAS UNPREDICTABLE AND COULDN'T BE TRUSTED. HE THREATENED TO START A NUCLEAR WAR IN SOUTHEAST ASIA AND IT REALLY BROUGHT THE FEAR OF THAT.

TED: ARE YOU SEEING ANYTHING IN THIS CAMPAIGN THAT RISES TO THE LEVEL OF SOME OF THE THINGS WE'VE SEEN IN THE PAST?

ANTONI MUNTADAS: IT'S INTERESTING, A LOT OF QUOTATIONS OR PREVIOUS -- THE ART OF GOOD MORNING AMERICA WAS TALEN FROM REAGAN. THERE'S A LOT OF HISTORY ALREADY THAT ONE IS REPLICATED -- REFERENCE TO THE PREVIOUS. I WILL SAY IT'S NOT THE MOST CREATIVE CAMPAIGN.

TED: THE CREATIVITY IS GETTING LOST.

ANTONI MUNTADAS: LOOKING FOR THE EFFECTIVITY.

TED: DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?

MARSHALL REESE: BY AND LARGE, YES, I AGREE. I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF NEGATIVE ADS AND I THINK THAT THE IDEA IS TO REALLY SAY THE WORST THING ABOUT THE OPPONENT.

TED: GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. VERY INTERESTING STUFF. THANKS FOR JOINING US. WE DO APPRECIATE IT.

THANK YOU.

Antoni Muntadas, artist; Marshall Reese, artist

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