Fake Sale

For Real? Betabeat Goes Fake Shopping for Made-Up Brands

Valley must-haves!

As Betabeat stood surveying the whimsical offerings of Montalvo Historical Fabrications and Souvenirs, a colleague reached out and, from among the Steve Jobs prayer candles and spontaneous marriage proposal packets, grabbed a bottle of “Dot-Com Bubbles” for a closer look. She quickly returned it with a rueful expression, remembering this was an art exhibit and not, despite all the price tags and other signs screaming “retail,” an actual novelty shop.

“As Real as It Gets,” a new exhibition at Tribeca’s apexart, is about fictional brands made flesh, as it were, and we weren’t alone in our confusion. Shortly thereafter, we saw curator Rob Walker, former “Consumed” columnist at the Times Magazine and author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are (Random House 2010), wave a couple away from one of the installations—a baby blue “bathtub synthesizer,” for making music while bathing, explaining that it wasn’t actually functional. Read More