Pop culture consumerism imagery has been popular since the mid-50s. Andy Warhol made the Campbell soup can into iconic status whilst Barbara Kruger grabbed our attention with a bold graphic billboard that criticized capitalism and its social vacuity. Artists have always been fascinated and intrigued by consumer culture and the way it shapes our society. We as consumers of imagery have also deemed what is seen as high art and low art. Fine art is seen as the upper echelon of imagery, seeing the Mona Lisa is required viewing of top-notch high art experience. Whilst the most iconic image we see daily is deemed low art and is arguably more recognized around the world than the Christian cross.
There is no other imagery that is as iconic and known as the golden arches of McDonald’s. Designed by Jim Schindler, McDonald’s Head of Engineering and Design in the late ’60s. Since then, the logo and the iconography of McDonald’s imagery have been at the forefront of design and embedded into our culture. McDonald’s has also influenced the high art world with artists like Banksy, Sally Davies, Moschino, and Harry Fraser.
Harry Fraser explores kitsch and consumerist art with the 1983 promotional characters that introduced the Chicken McNuggets, The McNuggets Buddies. Later in 1988 these buddies were given their own personality and sold as Happy Meal Toys. There was Firefighter McNugget, Cowboy McNugget, and Princess McNugget to name a few. These characters have inspired Harry to play around with the idea of high and low art using the personality of the McNugget toys onto the most famous paintings in Art History. Blending the realms of what is deemed high and low. They believe traditional art is hard to access for minority communities, especially those from working-class backgrounds. When in reality the arts for years, in all forms were catered for the working people.
The whole exhibition will be a pink immersive space. These famous paintings being recreated have been talked about immensely in a Western, white heteronormative narrative. By using this colour, it represents the artist's queer identity and highlights the lack of queer stories in art history. Harry uses Pink in most of their work to highlight the iconic pink triangle. Which was originally used by the Nazis to brand queer people and used as a symbol of shame. Now the queer community reclaimed that sign and now uses it as a protest and a badge of honour of self-identity.
Please click on the picture to enter the gallery.
About the Artist
Harry Fraser is a working artist and writer living in the North East, currently studying a MA in Design History at The Northern School of Art. Their practice involves a mixture of sculpture and illustration usually informed by elements of queer culture, political and comical nature all within a predominantly pink colour scheme. Harry has exhibited in multiple venues around the Middlesborough area from 2020-2023, taking part in area-wide projects such as The Middlesborough Art Weekender. They have started to develop their curatorial practice by curating an exhibition, Bimbo_pop.mp3 at Pineapple Black, Middlesbrough. Harry has been printed in multiple zines based within the North East, most notably multiple issues of Spilt Milk.