LACMA draws the line on ads for Pompeii exhibition

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Chalk it up to an over-eager marketing team at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

On Wednesday, Roman-style advertisements for the museum’s upcoming exhibition ‘Pompeii and the Roman Villa’ were spotted on sidewalks throughout the city. The sightings were first reported by our friends over at the Curbed LA blog.


Turns out the ads were chalk drawings, some of which depicted the profile of a Roman youth along with the words ‘Pompeii’ and ‘LACMA.’ The museum had stenciled 20 such drawings at four locations throughout L.A.

Why this sudden spasm of Banksy-esque propaganda? Barbara Pflaumer, associate vice president of communications at LACMA, said the chalk drawings were part of a guerilla-type campaign to promote the exhibition, which is to open May 3. But she said that the museum rolled out the campaign too early and that it was supposed to coincide with a future street banner campaign.

Whoops! Pflaumer told Curbed LA that the museum has made plans to remove all of the chalk drawings.

Such are the perils when a large, bureaucratic institution tries on a hipper, more youth-friendly persona. Well, points for effort anyway.

-- David Ng