Situated at the crossroads of visual culture and consumerism, this essay collection examines visual merchandising as both a business and an art. It seeks to challenge that scholarly ambivalence that often celebrates the spectacle but denies the agenda of consumerism. The volume considers strategies in the imaging of selling from the mid nineteenth century to the present, in terms of the visual interaction that occurs between the commodity and the consumer and between body and space. Under the categories of Promotion, Product and Place, contributors to the volume examine the strategies in the presentation of retail goods and environments that range from print advertising to product design to store display and architecture. Visual Merchandising: The Image of Selling is located directly at the nexus of business practice and cultural myth, where the spectator never loses sight of their status as buyer and the object of desire is always still a commodity.
Louisa Iarocci is Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA.
Contents: Introduction: the image of visual merchandising, Louisa Iarocci; Part I Promotion: Corridors of consumption: mid-19th-century commercial space and the reinvention of downtown, Jeffrey A. Cohen; Hieroglyphs of commerce: the visual rhetoric of the German Sachplakat, Kathleen Chapman; Selling perceptions of space: AT&T print ads, 1908-1930, Emily Bills. Part II Products: Pontiac hood ornaments: marketing the Chief, Mona Hadler; The store mannequin: an evolving ideal of beauty, Gayle Strege; Selling China: class, gender and orientalism at the department store, Sarah Cheang; 'The art of draping': window dressing, Louisa Iarocci. Part III Place: Selling automobility: architecture as sales strategy in US car dealerships before 1920, Robert Buerglener; Mansions as marketing: the residential funeral home and American consumer culture 1915-1965, Dean Lampros; The common place of the common carrier: the American truck stop, Ethel Goodstein-Murphree; A tale of two cities: image, space and the balancing act of luxury merchandising, John Potvin; Bibliography; Index.