• Kim Beck billboard I70SignShow 02

    Kim Beck, "Next Exit," 2014 (click arrows for more images)
    On main billboard, in Hatton, Missouri, November 2014–January 2015
  • Beck Stadium Student
    Kim Beck, "The Sky is the Limit," Nov. 1, 2014 (click arrows for more images)
    View of skywriting over University of Missouri stadium during Mizzou Tigers–Kentucky Wildcats football game
  • Beck Satellite

    "Next Exit," 2014 (click arrows for more images)
    On satellite billboard near I-70 Stadium Exit, Columbia, Missouri, January–March 2015


Kim Beck’s work with the Sign Show started with a version of her Sky Is The Limit project. Flying over the city of Columbia and the University of Missouri, a skywriter spelled out generic ad phrases, selected by Beck, that appear frequently on billboards along the interstate (SPACE AVAILABLE, NEXT EXIT, and OPEN DAILY!). The Nov. 1 event was timed to coincide with an MU home football game, tapping a large captive audience in the spirit of the commercial ad culture that informs the Sign Show content.
To produce her billboard, Beck used photos of the phrase NEXT EXIT, a dual reference to the poetic implications of language out of context and the many Christian messages along I-70 that allude to or directly mention heaven. In its satellite location, NEXT EXIT was resited at the city’s Stadium exit (#124), making it likely that people who saw the skywriting will see its language restored, transformed, to its roadside source.
Video of billboard installation
Videos of skywriting
Skywriting event
Artist's website: http://idealcities.com/

  • Haendel Plow Pose

    Karl Haendel, "Plow Pose," 2015 (click arrrows for more images)
    On main billboard March–May 2015




  • Haendel Yoga Sol

    Yoga Under the Billboard event, May 28, 2015 (click arrows for more images)
  • Karl Satellite Web

    "Plow Pose," 2015 (click arrows for more images)
    On satellite billboard in Wright City, Missouri, June–September, 2015 

Produced for the Sign Show, "Plow Pose" investigated I-70 message themes including lifestyle, athletics, religion, and masculinity. The ambiguous composition—is the man restrained by or bursting out of the space?—invited viewers to think about representations of the human body on other billboards and in advertising generally. Haendel's piece also subtly engaged its agricultural site in presenting a classic yoga position named for its resemblance to traditional Indian and Tibetan farming equipment. To acknowedge this reference—and to have a new experience of the interstate—a group from Yoga Sol of Columbia, Missouri, held a class under the billboard.
For its satellite installtion, "Plow Pose" moved to the grounds of a heavy-machinery depot in Wright City, Missouri. The mostly white sign, perched on a incline, had a glowing, beaconlike visibilty for drivers headed east, toward St. Louis.
About the artist: Karl Haendel's meticulously hand-rendered, photorealistic graphite drawings reproduce images culled from the world of mass media and everyday objects, calling into question art-world conceptions of originality, production, and reproduction. The artist, who also makes films and books, arranges his drawings in salon-style installations to foster powerful reference juxtapositions that often point to and critique American culture. He has exhibited at institutions including the Wexner Center in Columbus, Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the Aspen Art Museum, New York’s Drawing Center, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. He is represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York, and Wentrup Gallery in Berlin.
video of billboard installation

  • Ken Lum's "Bindy Sangeet, Employee of the Month" and "Alia Naffouj, Hooked on Tennis," installed on Main Billboard as seen from an angle

    Ken Lum, "Bindy Sangeet: Employee of the Month / Alia Naffouj: Hooked on Tennis," 2015 (click arrows for more images)
    On main billboard, in Hatton, Missouri, January–February 2015

  • Ken Lum's "Bindy Sangeet, Employee of the Month" and "Alia Naffouj, Hooked on Tennis," installed on Main Billboard as seen from an angle

    Installation view at main billboard site (click arrows for more images)

  • Ken Lum, "Bindy Sangeet: Employee of the Month / Alia Naffouj: Hooked on Tennis," diptych, 2015

    Ken Lum, "Bindy Sangeet: Employee of the Month / Alia Naffouj: Hooked on Tennis," diptych, 2015 (click arrows for more images)
    Installed on satellite billboard, near Hatton, MO, January 2016

  • Ken Lum, "Bindy Sangeet: Employee of the Month / Alia Naffouj: Hooked on Tennis," diptych, 2015, installation view

    View of Lum billboard with "Friendship" values.com PSA in the foreground (click arrows for more images)

Lum created a new work for the Sign Show by merging existing pieces — "Bindy Sangeet: Employee of the Month" (1990) and "Alia Naffouj: Hooked on Tennis" (1998) — into a diptych. Within the context of message themes along the interstate, his billboard comments on labor, immigration, the American Dream, and comparative representations of aspirant and achieved success. Of ethnic Chinese origin, Lum often makes work that considers the individual's place in society while investigating race and class distinctions. This content was enhanced when his "Bindy / Alia" image moved to its second, "satellite," I-70 location adjacent to a Mister Rogers "Friendship: Pass it On" values.com public-service announcement sponsored by the nonprofit Foundation For a Better Life. The satellite sites of Sign Show artworks are left to chance: DDI Media assigns them different locations each time, depending on where empty signs are available. Usually, artworks move at least 50 miles from the main billboard in Hatton, and, almost always, their meaning becomes more poetic or political in the new locations. In Lum's case, his work moved just across the road, yet it still entered a more potent conversation with surrounding ads and architecture.
In general, the diptych format of Lum's piece engages the frequent stacked or side-by-side billboards along the interstate (as pictured below), whose random message pairings often are inadvertently complementary or ironic.

Triple the Love/ Passions: buy 2 DVDs, Get 1 Free billboard pairing

Since the late 1970s, Lum has explored expressions of cultural and subjective identity within the encoded of parameters of economic, social, and political systems. Lum uses combiations of photographic images, sculptural components, and ideas about language to produce works that address contemporary life. Of Chinese ethnic origin and born in Vancouver, he often considers the individual's place in society while investigating race and class distinctions. His pairings of image and text invite viewers to ask questions about social issues and the visual world.
Lum is a professor in the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has been exhibited widely, in the Whitney Biennial 2014, the Moscow Biennial (2011), the Gwangju Biennale (2008), the Istanbul Biennale (2007), and Documenta 11 (2002), among other venues. Lum has published many essays on art and is co-founder and founding editor of the Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. He was co-curator of the 7th Sharjah Biennial and "Shanghai Modern: 1919–1945," both in 2005.
video of satallite billboard installation

  • McGinness Re-elect Skull and Bones billboard front view
    Ryan McGinness, "Re-elect Skull & Bones," 2015 (click arrows for more images)
    On main billboard June-August 2015
  • Ryan McGinness, Re-elect Skull & Bones billboard side view
    McGinness on main billboard with I-70 traffic in background (click arrows for more images)
  • McGinness Satellite Web
     Ryan McGinness, "Re-elect Skull & Bones," 2015 (click arrows for more images)
    On satellite billboard September-November 2015 
  • McGinness Scholars
    Missouri Military Academy billboard narrative behind McGinness's "Re-Elect Skull & Bones" (click arrows for more images)
  • McGinness Athletes
    Missouri Military Academy billboard narrative (click arrows for more images)
  • McGinness Leaders
    Missouri Military Academy billboard narrative (click arrows for more images)
  • McGinness Character
    Missouri Military Academy billboard narrative (click arrows for more images)
  • McGinness MMA
    Missouri Military Academy billboard, last in six-ad series interrupted by "Re-elect Skull & Bones" in its satellite location
    (click arrows for more images)

In our current system, does it make a difference which party we vote for? The I-70 Sign Show marks the start of the presidential campaign with new work by Ryan McGinness that poses this question. The central icon traditionally connotes tombstones, poison, and pirates. Here, it also recalls the famous Yale secret society whose former members include past and current U.S. politicians and presidents, White House advisors, and influential corporate titans—Republicans and Democrats alike. “Re-elect Skull & Bones” both urges rebellion and doubts our ability to rebel, critiquing our democracy as one commandeered by an undefeatable band of power elites. No matter whom we elect, do we always get Skull & Bones?
On the main billboard (July–August 2015), the political message of McGinness's piece was more general. In its second location (September–October 2015), near the town of Jonesburg, the Skull & Bones reference to male privilege and achievement rooted in education became more pointed, because of its position in the middle of a sequence of ads for the Missouri Military Academy, promoting SCHOLARS, ATHLETES, LEADERS, and YOUNG MEN OF GOOD CHARACTER.
Ryan McGinness is an American artist, living and working in New York City. He grew up in the surf and skate culture of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and studied at Carnegie Mellon University as an Andrew Carnegie Scholar. Known for his extensive vocabulary of original graphic drawings that use the visual language of public signage, corporate logos, and contemporary symbology, McGinness is credited with elevating the status of the icon to fine art through his paintings, sculptures, installations, and books. Concerned with the perceived value of forms, he assumes the power of this visual language in order to share personal expressions. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Cincinnati Art Museum, MUSAC in Léon, Spain, and the Taguchi Art Collection, in Tokyo.
http://www.ryanmcginness.com/
Copyright © 2015 — I-70 Sign Show
All artist images, copyright © the respective artists

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