Did an LA Ad Firm rip of LA Artist Matt Johnson for a Nissan Ad?

Over on Modern Art Notes, Tyler Green is comparing photos.


Anyone who was in Los Angeles during 2005 should recognize the image on the left as it was the main photo used by the UCLA Hammer Museum to promote their Thing exhibition and was hung on banners on streets all over the city for months. The right is a still from a commercial made by Nissan’s Los Angeles based ad firm TBWA\Chiat\Day. Tyler has more here, expect even more on this in the near future. Of course it should be noted that part of the appeal of Johnson’s original piece was that it was of something so universal and recognizable and I suspect if it hadn’t been so throughly promoted in Los Angeles a year prior to this ad that people wouldn’t be linking the two as quickly.

4 thoughts on “Did an LA Ad Firm rip of LA Artist Matt Johnson for a Nissan Ad?”

  1. The original uses an end bread, the most despised slice in a loaf, which resonates with much more meaning than the commercial, a run of the mill everyone-loves-it slice from the middle of the pack. Therefore there is no similarity.

  2. Nice pseudonym, Cara.

    This reminds me of a dust-up in SF over a recent ad depicting a set of runners dressed as salmon running up-stream in a race. There’s a well known group of actual runners who do the same during SF’s famed “Bay to Breakers” race every year.

    If it is a bite off the museum piece, well, I’d think it reasonable to chalk it up to a subliminal effect more than an all out cribbing. Who knows.

    Either way – toast IS funny . . . .

  3. Wow. Making a face by biting holes in your toast is art?

    C’mon. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid.

    I personally never saw the Hammer signs even though I lived in LA all of 2005. Even if I had I don’t think I’d consider this idea theft in any way, shape, or form.

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