Splendid Monuments: Robert Montgomery on his Billboard Interventions

Each day, we drive through an onslaught of billboards, and we hardly see them.

Sure, most of us read Farenheit 451 in middle school and had class discussions about the miles-long advertisements along Ray Bradbury’s freeways. Then there’s Guy Debord and the Situationists, who we studies in high school or college Art History courses. But most of us still pass Chick-a-fila and Geico billboards on our daily commutes without a second thought.

Here’s where Scottish artist Robert Montgomery comes in.

Montgomery’s work melds graffiti and poetry in an attempt to subvert typical reaction to metropolitan advertisement. Each of his pieces is a poem of sorts, generally presented as stark white-on-black text, which he posts on billboards (often illegally covering paid content) throughout Europe. Recently, he’s infiltrated London–plastering billboards across the city with words that inspire thought as much as action.

Montgomery’s pieces are elusive–as subtle as they are rebellious–a sort of David to its Corporate Advertising Goliath. In his words: “ALL OF OUR SPLENDID MONUMENTS, EVERYTHING WE’VE DONE YOU SAID / JUST LIPSTICK TRACES ON A CIGARETTE.”

The Huffington Post recently caught up with Montgomery for an interview about his work as an artist and publisher of Dazed and Confused.

And of course, they can’t resist a jab at MOCA’s current crisis either:

“It is hard to read an article about Montgomery without seeing the name Guy Debord pop up — the man who predicted capitalism would create a society where spectacle overtakes reality. Anyone who has been following the current MOCA debate knows where this has been going.”

Read the full interview here

Kit Warchol