Haim Steinbach, born 1944 in Israel, lives and works in New York. Steinbach first became known for displaying objects culled from everyday life on shelf units, often of his own design. Over the years, Steinbach has also been collecting advertising copy slogans mostly pulled from newspapers and magazines. His work with these slogans is focused on the typological linguistic images of collective speech - sayings and idiomatic expressions with histories that on occasion reach as far back as Aristophanes and La Fontaine. They may be plays or puns on scientific truisms, as with "once again the world is flat", or perhaps when applied to capitalistic mercantilism they give humor to Marx´s theory of the alienation of labor, as with "on vent du vent" ("selling air"). The slogan works enable a play of classification, selection and arrangement similar to that in which the collector of butterflies might engage. »I select the most representative types of their particular distinctions, thus designating them as artworks.«
Big brown bag 1992 From Wall Works Slogan stenciled on a wall in black paint, with "bullet" trash can. Overall size of installation 262 x 221 x 56 cm (103 x 87 x 22"). Limited to 15 installations, with a signed and numbered certificate.
In the work big brown bag, Steinbach for the first time incorporates both text and object. Taking the ubiquitous Bloomingdale´s shopping bag slogan, he sets the bullet trash can against the slogan´s repetitive typographic curves. The essentially functional containers (bag and can) are transformed into a play of metonymic resonance.