Photo: Michelle Pred (planting her work into IKEA's inventory.)
As crowds rushed to find deals at the Emeryville, CA IKEA store, one of them had a plan other than shopping. Michelle Pred was actually placing her artwork, complete with working IKEA barcodes, into the inventory, an act she calls "shopdropping." Unlike shoplifting, she isn't breaking any laws, and IKEA pocketed the money. It's all a statement by the artist.
In Pred's case, the statement is "You Are What You Buy," which also happens to be the title of the prints she shopdropped, a commentary on excessive consumerism on a day where excessive consumerism practically is celebrated. She says that as a conceptual artist, she valued the opportunity to make a statement about society over the chance to make money. The shopdrop itself, in fact, is part of the piece.
Pred gained national attention in 2002 when she made art out of knives and nail-cutters snagged by security at local airports. In 2006 she attempted to demystify the cannabis plant by growing one in a San Francisco gallery.