Only a couple of weeks remain to see I Approve This Message: Decoding Political Ads, an eye-opening, interactive Toledo Museum of Art exhibition devoted to the viewer and how political ads can influence your emotions in order to sway your vote. The free, nonpartisan show ends on Election Day, Nov. 8.
“The goal is to increase awareness of the mechanisms campaigns utilize to capture your vote by pulling on the heartstrings. In the process, visitors will become more critical consumers of political advertising,” said Adam Levine, associate director of the Toledo Museum of Art.
Levine and guest curator Harriett Levin Balkind, founder of HonestAds, a nonpartisan nonprofit working to bring people into-the-know about political advertising, co-curated the exhibition.
“I Approve This Message aims to draw back the curtain of presidential political advertising and let you experience for yourself the persuasive power of emotional messages,” Balkind said. “This exhibition represents the best of the best over the last 60 years.”
The Museum’s 7,000-square-foot Canaday Gallery is divided into four theaters about fear, anger, hope and pride. Another theater, change, shows how appeals have evolved for different constituencies. There’s also a “Mood Room” where visitors are enveloped in a sensory experience that demonstrates how images and sounds stir emotions and an interactive zone where they can put themselves in an ad.
The approximately 50 ads shown date from 1952, when the first national presidential TV commercial was broadcast, up to 2012. Among the classic commercials presented, some in frame-by-frame breakdowns, is the infamous Lyndon B. Johnson 1964 “Daisy Girl,” which begins gently with a little girl pulling petals and ends with a nuclear blast.
The nonpartisan exhibition is organized by the Toledo Museum of Art and HonestAds. TMA commissioned Thinc of New York City to design the exhibition.
The exhibition is presented by Taylor Cadillac with additional support from Block Communications, Inc., creative partner Madhouse, and ProMedica, the 2016 Exhibition Program
Sponsor. It also is made possible by members of the Toledo Museum of Art and by a sustainability grant from the Ohio Arts Council.
General admission to the Museum and the exhibition is free; parking is free for Museum members and $7 for nonmembers.
For more information, visit http://approve.toledomuseum.org/.