Who Cares Wins by Harland Miller

Who Cares Wins Harland Miller

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Who Cares Wins depicts a book cover with Harland Miller’s name assuming the role of the book’s author. Who Cares Wins comes in a number of variations, with versions in red and pink as well as a special blue NHS print from 2020. Each version is similar in appropriating the familiar Penguin book format, with the book’s title “Who Cares Wins” written in bold, black, capitalised letters. The photorealist rendering of the Penguin dust jacket, achieved using a high-resolution digital photograph and then layering paint over the image, gives the impression the print is really an authentic, second-hand book. This brings with it a sense of nostalgia, as the Penguin books are old classics that many people, like Miller, grew up collecting.

The prints in Who Cares Wins are part of the broader Penguin series, in which Miller uses the familiar format of Penguin dust jackets to create his own humorous titles which often carry political undertones or an element of social critique. Who Cares Wins is one of the more positive examples of the series. While still being slightly ironic, it is lighter in tone to the dark humour exemplified in sardonic titles such as Health and Safety Is Killing Bondage and Heroin, It’s What Your Right Arm’s For. Miller is best known for his Penguin prints, which have been described by novelist Michael Bracewell as “wittily deadpan, punkish and aphoristic.” In these prints, Miller explores the relationship between text and image by subverting a familiar format and injecting it with his own creative wit and humour.

The incorporation of words with art is influenced by Ed Ruscha, an American artist and prominent figure in the Pop Art movement.  Ruscha incorporated words and phrases into his artworks, drawing on the deadpan irreverence of the Pop Art movement. This resonates strongly with Miller’s work, especially the Penguin series.

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