October 20, 2018

Change Ads To Art

Arrows indicate where ads have been replaced with art on this sample web page.

How is it that the internet has been totally taken over by advertising? Did we ask for this, or did they ask our permission to steal some of our expensive internet bandwidth to pollute our experience with consumer arm-twisting?

Why aren't more public places centres of beauty rather than being overwhelmed by ugly omnipresent propaganda aimed at increasing consumption? 

Let's face it, art is mind expanding, while advertising uses advanced techniques to circumvent our rational thought processes and narrow our uniqueness; mind contracting, if you will.

Observing art gets our creative juices flowing, while advertising shuts them down. 

The internet, and the world, needs far less advertising, and a lot more public displays of art. The people at the Anti Advertising Agency who made the browser plug-in called "Ad-Art" would agree. 

They offer a free download that replaces (most) advertising on websites with curated art images.

This is from their website:
"Ad-Art is a free Firefox add-on which replaces advertising on websites with curated art images. 
Add-Art releases new art shows every two weeks and strives to feature contemporary artists and curators."

I use Safari as my browser, and downloaded a version of Ad-Art that is compatible. I have been testing it out over the past few days, and am generally pleased with the results. You can find downloads for other browsers here.

I do notice some minor slowing while certain pages are loading, but even if one has to wait a few seconds, it is worth it to have annoying ads replaced with beautiful images. 

I have no doubt that fewer advertising intrusions in our lives, and more art, would lead to a reduction in mindless consumption, and an increase in creativity. 

We have a right to an advertising-free experience, and visually pleasing spaces. Ad-Art is one small way we can fight back and regain our visual rights. 

Plus, it is much safer than blowing up/cutting down billboards. Not as fun, but definitely safer.


  1. This is a beautiful sentiment. As I am trying to get out of debt and be more self sufficient adds pay me to help do this. It is a means to an end. Or maybe and end to the means. But I do agree with you.

    1. Getting out of debt is very important, as is increased self-sufficiency. I hope you meet your goals.

  2. I've always loved that NBA is ad free. I am very troubled to see so many sites with so many ads. Some of the food/recipe sites are no longer readable because of so many ads. I emailed the bloggers and told them I used to love their blogs and used many of their recipes, but will unsubscribe and leave if I have to continue to fight my way through so many ads. One site I couldn't get through a sentence or two before being interrupted by an ad. Mapquest has gotten impossible to figure out the map because of so many pop up ads. When you click to close one, you find them layered, you have to close about 3 for every location on the map you are trying to read until you get them all closed so you can read the dang map. Maddening.

    You make a good point, we are paying for internet service. It seems we should have some say about being bombarded with ads.
    I tried to add Art Ad and wasn't able to on my Windows lap top. Seems they are still developing it. I'll try it on my Apple devices. I'm happy about this option.

    1. A while back we were using something that turned all web pages into text only. That was interesting, but I don't recall what happened to it. If I find it I will link to it.

  3. Anonymous10/22/2018

    I have an ad blocker on my computer so I rarely see any ads. I also don't watch tv or read magazine because of the ads


    1. It is difficult, but not impossible to escape the advertising onslaught. Rarely seeing ads is a beautiful thing. How much stuff would people buy if they weren't constantly triggered by advertising stimuli?

  4. I just added Ad-Art to my browser and am so happy to know about it! Ads are insidious and brain-changing. I think Banksy would really dig this project.
    And in my city, a large media company who owns many, many billboards is evidently having trouble keeping them all occupied. So they reached out to local artists who are planning to install large photos on them - I can't wait to see them. The artist Felix Gonzales-Torres is a beautiful artist to look up if this interests you. His work is poetic and hauntingly beautiful. http://artmuseum.princeton.edu/art/exhibitions/1576

    1. I feel like I don't see ads when I browse the net. But that is not true because the brain still registers the stimuli whether you are conscious of it or not. Insidious and brain-changing for sure.

      Thanks for the link - change billboards to art!


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