Adages: Rocker challenges flannel suits: Make art, not org charts!

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On Sept. 10, the lobby of the Conde Nast building off New York City's Times Square will be festooned with artwork by David Byrne, rock star. Wired is sponsoring the show, called "The End of Reason." It comes on the heels of the release of a Byrne book and DVD impressively titled "Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information," and an article appearing in the current issue of Wired concerning Byrne's latest obsession.

Apparently, Byrne is founding a new school of art, sort of like Pointillism and Cubism. But his medium is not paint and canvas, it is the stuff ordinary businessmen encounter in windowless, airless conference rooms, during sleep-inducing seminars and presentations. It is the play of light on screens and blank walls that we know as PowerPoint.

"I have been working with PowerPoint, the ubiquitous presentation software, as an art medium for a number of years," said Byrne in a statement. "It started off as a joke, but then the work took on a life of its own as I realized I could create pieces that were moving, despite the limitations of the medium."

Adages recommends this show to its readers. And keep in mind, PowerPointers, after you create your marketing-accountability presentation for an ROI breakout session at the ANA's annual conference this year, don't forget to save your toolbar configurations, just in case you are asked to show your work at the next Whitney Biennial in Venice.

Yeah, fat chance.

Adages looks forward to ...

"Buff Brides," a 10-part Discovery Health Channel series that bows October 6. Imagine a reality show featuring 20 gals that "sweat, diet and get bridal gown fittings," says a press teaser from the cable net. Sounds very hot.

Also, the Luxury Television Network, a cable channel that makes its debut in December, should be a hoot. According to a statement by Luxury's new CEO Robert Quish, formerly president of Lowe, New York, the Lux net will "allow luxury brands to tell their stories and even transact." Quish did not disclose a prime-time schedule, but media kibitzers tell Adages we should expect, for example, a series on the life and loves of that heel, Manolo Blahnik. Quish does helpfully point out in his statement that the Luxury channel "is a perfect solution for luxury brands for whom television has been prohibitively expensive." Now that's rich! Expect high-brow comedy.

R.J. Palmer: Drinking on the job

A bus pulled up to the offices of independent media shop R.J. Palmer in Manhattan last week to take 75 employees to Aquebogue, home of the company winery, Palmer Vineyards. "We're a media-services company but we're also a vineyard," a spokesman says. "We got white, we got red, we got everything." Bob Palmer, founder of the agency, started the winery from scratch with 110 raw acres on the North Fork of Long Island in 1983. Palmer now makes chardonnay, champagne, bordeaux, merlot and more, but oddly, the wine maker doesn't advertise. "I don't believe in advertising the brand because there are too many brands out there," says Bob.

What's the occasion for the day trip? "Every year we hate to give up the summer," said Peter Knobloch, president of the agency. "So the first Friday after Labor Day we treat the staff to a little picnic." Are they celebrating their oft-rumored, pending sale to Havas' Media Planning Group? "No, we're not being acquired by MPG, I can guarantee you that," says Peter. "Yes, we've had conversations with them, and others too. Hey, we're one of the few independents left in this world. But we're liking our lifestyle at the moment."

With your own winery, who wouldn't?

Toss jewelry and other valuables at rlinnett@crain.com

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