James Holl: World Toy Company
March 14 – April 4 1981
In his work for the Window, James Holl constructed four episodes in each of four windows to address a central theme concerned with consumption and the moral consequences of choice. Utilizing merchandizing techniques which were prevalent and available in the Fourteenth Street shopping district at the time, one of the windows, titled World Toy Company, advertised a profusion of pseudo-products that poured forth from a concession stand as if it were a cornucopia of consumer gadgets. In the window to its far left, titled The Origin of Want Dancer Dressed in Designers’ Clothes, two clear plastic figures in transparent costumes danced beneath a shining moon and blinking stars. The two central windows were untitled and depicted two consumers, each torn between two “Valuable Accouterments.” Initially the World Toy Company installation appeared to eagerly align itself with a capitalistic effort to sell products. But, looking closer, the display satirized a capitalistic concern with increasing consumption, and the logic of packaging that provokes consumerism. Together, the four windows symbolically depicted the notion that the act of buying and consuming is an act of social responsibility.