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Shop > Artists' Books

#15756

Better Living Catalog

Artist
Pippa Garner
Price
$29.00
Date
2023
Publisher
Primary Information
Format
Artists' Books
ISBN
9798987624944
Genre
Culture
Description

Pippa Garner’s Better Living Catalog, originally published in 1982, takes the form of a mail order catalog featuring clever and whimsical inventions that parody consumer goods while simultaneously critiquing America’s obsession with ingenuity, efficiency, leisure, and comfort. These works, which were made as prototypes and photographed for the publication, take the form of improbable accessories, clothing, footwear, home appliances, and office gadgets.

For example, the “Reactiononometer,” a portable wristband, instantly measures social success, while the “Digital Diet Loafers” display the wearer’s weight with every step. If the “Munch-o-Matic” reduces deskwork interruptions by flinging a snack right into the user’s mouth, other items promise financial solvency (the controlled cash flow “Autowallet”), sustainable waste management, or mess-free companionship (the “Pet-a-Vision” TV console). The artist asserts that all of the products in the book are “absolute necessities for contemporary survival.”

The Better Living Catalog was a pop hit when it was published, earning Garner spots on nighttime TV talk shows and attention from magazines like Vogue and Rolling Stone. In a meme-filled culture, the works still resonate today, finding their analog in widely-circulating consumer products, and—in the case of the “High Heel Skates”—even appearing unattributed in the runway collection of a major luxury fashion brand.

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