Packard Jennings

Packard Jennings (b. 1970) is an American artist who appropriates pop culture symbols and references to create new meaning using a variety of media including printmaking, sculpture, animation, video, and pamphleteering.

In his early career he modified billboards, a common practice of culture jammers. Jennings’s work often deals with the philosophy of anarchism, how it’s represented in the media, and the representation of a naive utopia primarily through primitivism, not to be confused with anarchism or anarchy.

He addressed consumer culture by creating a a fake corporation, the Centennial Society, as well as entire bodies of work that served as criticisms of Wal-Mart, the tobacco industry and the commodification of dissent. Jennings has made major contributions to the practice of ‘Shopdropping’ (a term coined around 2004 to describe the covert placing of art or propaganda into stores.) The earliest in 1998 with his ‘Walmart Project,’ which features 7 art products placed in Walmart Stores which are humorously critical of aspects of their business practice.

In 2011, Jennings launched, an advertising free Do It Yourself website for projects of protest and creative dissent. The site features user generated step-by-step video and photo/text based instructions for a wide range of dissenting actions, including (but not limited to): art actions, billboard alterations, shopdropping, protest strategies, knit-bombing, and many other forms of public dissent – from the practical and tactical to the creative and illegal.

Notable works include: ‘Anarchist Action Figure,’ a boxed, cast plastic anarchist action figure complete with molotov cocktail and dense, academic language about destroying the state on the outside. This piece was placed in a Target store and purchased in 2007. The event was captured with video surveillance camera mounted in a backpack. His ‘Mussolini Action Figure,’ a packaged, vacuum formed plastic Benito Mussolini action figure, which Jennings left in a Upstate New York Wal-Mart, was also later purchased. In a video of the event on Jennings website, the clerk can not scan the item, so manually enters ‘MUSSOLINI $5.00’ which Jennings shows at exhibitions.

‘A Day at The Mall’ was his first in a series of small pamphlets which Jennings distributed both online and physically. The airline evacuation style comics depict everyday people erupting into riots and later forming primitive societies and have been popular on the internet. ‘Fallen Rapper Pez’ is a set of hand crafted and cast Pez versions of Tupac Shakur, Eazy-E, and Biggie Smalls. These prototypes were sent to Pez Candy with a crackpot letter. Pez responded with the statement that ‘The Fallen Rapper Pez are not appropriate to our target audience of three to six year-olds.’

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