Advertising billboard being used as public gallery

Just heard about Billboard International. If you’re in Poland, you can see Whose History? in Oświęcim (Auschwitz) right now, presented in conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MoCAK). The Billboard International project aims to confront the city’s past, its current popularity as a tourist destination, and, as they’ve stated it, “hope for the future.” The billboard is located between Oświęcim’s market square and the Auschwitz concentration camp. (See mapped location here.)
Whose History? opened in March and continues for the rest of the year with a new artist showing every 5 weeks. Below is a photo of Thomas Mailaender’s work which is on until September 26. For this piece, Mailaender took a rifle and fired away on a large sheet of metal to spell “FUN”- a reference to the mass killings that had occurred daily in the Auschwitz concentration camp… how simple, yet effective, and eerily whimsical. My kind of thing.

Thomas Mailaender / Billboard International

On a tangentional note, apparently billboard art is rather popular in Poland. Galeria Rusz has been running their own billboard gallery since 1999, at 37 Szosa Chełmińska in Toruń. To date, they have created more than 200 “artistic billboards,” and as of 2008 they’ve been organizing Art Moves: The Festival of Art on Billboards. Today is the first day of the 5th edition of the festival. Sounds interesting, and connects with the current work I’m doing with art in public spaces. More on that in my next post…

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