Why This Instagram-Worthy Stunt Sparked Controversy and Conversation

Nomadica Wine's collaboration with the Most Famous Artist served as a buzzy launch point for conversations about public art, social media, and development.

By Alesandra Dubin August 7, 2017, 7:00 AM EDT

Capitalizing on two major lifestyle trends—rosé and millennial pink—wine brand Nomadica Wine created a made-for-Instagram stunt that was practically guaranteed to go viral. And it did—though not entirely for the reasons organizers expected.


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Nomadica, which is known for its art-covered packaging on cans—not bottles—launched its new Pink River Rosé with a pop-up art installation in collaboration with Matty Mo, also known as the Most Famous Artist. The June stunt took over three mid-century homes on the 1500 block of Hi Point Street in Los Angeles’s central Mid-City neighborhood; the residences were slated to be demolished and replaced by a 45-unit high-rise apartment complex being designed by M-Rad Architecture.

The Most Famous Artist—representing his company the Mural Agency and commissioned by M-Rad—covered the residences in eye-catching bright pink paint, pegged to National Rosé Day.

Nomadica seized on the installation to draw attention to the artist’s work on the limited-edition cans of wine, hosting an unveiling event on June 10 with a wine tasting and a raffle. An invitation was distributed that read: “Come for a selfie, stay for the wine.” It drew postings from celebrities such as Sophia Bush, as well as other Instagram influencers.


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Organizers behind the conceptual art project, however, did not notify neighbors, which triggered significant controversy. Neighbors complained about the bright color, the increased traffic, and the fact that the houses’ yards were still overgrown.

“We've had some negative reaction as well, which was expected,” M-Rad’s brand and marketing director, Eric Stauble, told Curbed in June. “What's great is that most of the negative reaction is starting a dialog about urbanization and the projects that are being approved through the city both from a design standpoint and also a size standpoint.”

The artist also aimed to get people talking. In an Instagram caption, he called the project “an ephemeral conceptual art project as a jumping off point for a conversation about community, development, public art, and social media.” He also encouraged fans to stop by and take pictures, but to “Please be respectful of the neighborhood and leave the space in better shape than you found it. Pick up trash, don't linger, be nice.”


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