Elizabeth DillerAmerican, born Poland (Lodz, Poland, 1954)
Ricardo ScofidioAmerican (New York City, New York, 1935)
In the original installation of Soft Sell, a large pair of scarlet female lips was temporarily projected onto the glass doors of the Rialto, an abandoned porn theater on New York's Forty-second Street. A sensuous female voice emanated from the speak-hole of the ticket booth, soliciting passersby with dubious offers of bodies, real estate, and a wide range of consumerist pleasures. Each pitch began with her saying, "Hey, you, wanna buy a..."
Presented during the "Disneyfication" of Times Square in the 1990s — a period when activities shifted from drug dealing and prostitution to family-oriented theater and entertainment — Soft Sell suggests that the commodification of sexual desire wa merely being replaced with a new set of seductions designed to appeal to our consumerist fantasies.