• Minter Night Web 3

    Marilyn Minter, "Big Sigh," 2015 (click arrows for more images)
    On main billboard September–November 2015 
  • Minter Main Web

    Marilyn Minter, "Big Sigh," 2015 (click arrows for more images)
  • Minter Club Vogue

    View of "Big Sigh" with strip-club billboard (click arrows for more images)
  • Minter Hanson Sign
    View of main billboard site, on property of Hansen family farming-business (click arrow for more images)
  • Minter Tiller
    "Big Sigh" with farm equipment (click arrows for more images)
  • Minter Satellite Web

    Marilyn Minter, “Big Sigh,” 2015 (click arrows for more images)
    On satellite billboard December 2015–January 2016 
  • Minter Satellite Context Sod
    Context view of "Big Sigh" on satellite board (click arrows for more images)
  • Minter Heroin Graves Web
    Anti-heroin PSA and 19th-century family plot behind "Big Sigh" billboard (click arrows for more images)

Marilyn Minter is known for paintings and photographs that approach the body, sexuality, and fashion with gritty, feminist glamour. Installed along the I-70 corridor, her work speaks with complexity and ambiguity to themes of consumption. It is unclear whether the mouth, at once luscious and grotesque, is a victim trapped inside the sign or an invader with an urge to devour. Drooling and breathy, the mouth fogs the sign’s “surface” with steam and condensation, yet we cannot really know whether this “Big Sigh” is one of contentment or resignation. The dual meaning is appropriate, given the back-and-forth along the interstate between ads that tempt people to consume “goods” that are “bad” (such as fast food, slot machines, and lap dances) and messages playing on consumer guilt to promote programs for "better" living (such as health facilities and megachurches).
On the Sign Show's main billboard in rural Hatton, the artwork engaged consumption in terms of land, food, and sex, looming over agricultural equipment such as rotary tillers and adjacent to signs for a strip club. In its second “satellite” location, by a busy commercial rail line, the moist, open mouth connotes a darker, even metaphysical sense of consumption pertaining to escapism and time. Right behind “Big Sigh,” a billboard warns of the perils of heroin (featuring an upside-down cartoon cat, the slogan “1 Death per day," and the web address curiosityandheroin.org). Nearby, almost invisible in grassy overgrowth, is a small family graveyard dating from the 1860s.
Minter's Sign Show participation coincides with her first major museum retrospective, Pretty/Dirty. She spoke with Mark Guiducci for Vogue.com, who wrote, "Slick, steamy, soiled, smeared: Such is the work of Marilyn Minter, the painter and photographer whose composite images of female body parts (think a mouthful of muddy pearls) have been embraced and reviled for their sensual magnetism for more than three decades. Collected by everyone from the Guggenheim to Jay Z — she makes a dancing cameo in his video "Picasso Baby" — Minter [on the occasion of her traveling retrospective] sat down ... for a candid conversation about a few of her favorite things and the state of her art." Click here to read the full article.
Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty was co-organized by the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and travels to the Orange County (CA) Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibition catalogue was reviewed in the New York Times.
Video of billboard installation
For more images of Minter's work and information about her career, visit her website.  

  • Rosen "Blurred" on main billboard of I70signshow

    Kay Rosen, "BLURRED," 2004/2014
    On main billboard, in Hatton, Missouri, April–May 2015
  • Rosen Satellite 2

    "BLURRED" being installed on satellite billboard in Warrenton, MO, June–July 2015 (click for more images)
  • Rosen Road

    View of "BLURRED" from the interstate, with Monsanto ad in the background (click for more images)

The Sign Show opened with Rosen's "BLURRED" to declare the project's overall engagement with how Missouri billboard messages reflect "red" versus "blue" issue conflicts. The artwork's political content was more general in its initial location on the project's main board. 
In its second “satellite” location, in Warrenton, a more pointed critique emerged with its position in front of a patriotic-themed advertisement for Monsanto featuring the stripes of the American flag transforming into field furrows. Connecting this new site with its initial location at the edge of a family farm in Hatton, "BLURRED" evoked a subtle commentary on small-scale versus corporate agriculture and the relative "American-ness" of each.
every star-spangled banner begins with a farmer: Monsanto ad
Video of billboard installation
Artist's Website: http://www.kayrosen.com

see bio

  • Mel Bochner billboard I70signshow daytime 02

    Mel Bochner "BLAH, BLAH, BLAH," 2013 (Click arrows for more images)
    On main billboard, in Hatton, Missouri, June–July 2014
  • Mel Bochner billboard I70SignShow night 04

    "BLAH, BLAH, BLAH" on main billboard site (click arrows for more images)
  • Bochner Satellite Street

    Mel Bochner, "BLAH, BLAH, BLAH," 2013 (click arrows for more images)
    On satellite billboard in Warrenton, Missouri, August–September 2015
  • Bocher Satellite Houses

    View of Bochner billboard with housing development (click arrows for more images)

A pioneer of conceptual art, Mel Bochner has since the 1960s questioned the clarity, function, and efficacy of language. Within the Sign Show, "BLAH BLAH BLAH" offered a direct and playful critique of Missouri’s surplus billboards, three times more than neighboring states and five times the national average. Along I-70, the hundreds of messages blend together in a numbing barrage. Many unrented signs are blank. Others declare their self-evident purpose with ads for ad space. When the Bochner work moved, its new spot adjacent to a housing development and nearby a Walmart slanted its meaning toward the generic, in architecture and commerce as well as language.
Video of billboard production
Video of billboard installation
Artist's Website: http://www.melbochner.net
Link to "Wall Street Journal" review of Mel Bochner's exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York.

  • Thomas main

    "A Moment's Pleasure (Billboard)," 2014 (click arrows for more images)
    On main billboard, in Hatton, Missouri, August–October 2014
  • Michalene Thomas billboard I70signshow dusk 01

    "A Moment's Pleasure" at main billboard site (click arrows for more images)
  • Thomas Satellite View

    Mickalene Thomas, "A Moment's Pleasure (Billboard)," 2014 (click arrows for more images)
    On satellite billboard at I-70 West Florissant Avenue Exit overpass, near Ferguson, November 2014–January 2015

The Sign Show invited Thomas to participate because of the numerous ways her work engages female sexuality and beauty—obvious themes in ads for porn and idealized bodies (liposuction, plastic surgery, etc.) and in the general way advertising uses images of sexy women to sell almost any product.
On the main billboard, adjacent to an ad for a strip club, Thomas’s image addressed gender politics with immediacy and candor.
For its satellite location, "A Moment's Pleasure" moved to a Greater St. Louis billboard at the exit for West Florissant Avenue, five miles from the site of Michael Brown’s killing and Ferguson protests. This installation marked the first instance of Sign Show artwork intersecting with current events as well as a physical landscape. The work retained its feminist content but its reading shifted to contain race as well as gender. The two women, with their solid poses and dignified expressions, became like sentinels,  marking and watching over a scene of national pain and conflict. 
Video of billboard installation
Artist's website: http://mickalenethomas.com/
Recent press:

Huffington Post
NY Observer Gallerist
Interview Magazine

Video interview with the artist:

Copyright © 2017 — I-70 Sign Show
All artist images, copyright © the respective artists

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