Borrowed from the wealthy photo archives of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the exhibition focuses on lens-based artwork that utilizes the structures, conventions and formal qualities used in media, fashion and advertising. Artists represented include Vikki Alexander, Eugene Atget, Walker Evans, Gu Xiong, Richard Hamilton, Barbara Kruger, Ken Lam, Yasumasa Morimura, Andy Warhol, and Oh Zhang.
The title of the event directly refers to the 1981 exhibition of the same name: Pictures and Promises: Displaying Advertisements, Slogans and Interventions, curated by Barbara Kruger. The exhibit, presented at the New York City Video and Music Center from January 8 to February 5, 1981, combined advertising, television commercials, posters, commercial photography, and corporate signage with artwork, suggesting ways that “artists have chosen to use ad aesthetic codes. assuming the simplicity of a popular visual language. "