Park McArthur Softly, effectively 2017

  • MoMA, Floor 2, 214

The US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) declares that traffic control devices “speak to us softly, yet effectively and authoritatively.” In this work—one of forty blank signs the artist had made based on specifications from an FHWA manual—McArthur omits “authoritative” text and images to challenge the systems that determine patterns of human movement. By subverting the sign’s intended purpose as a wayfinding device, McArthur has created an object that is equally inaccessible to all—a wordless monument to the impossibility of conforming lived experience to a single structure.

Gallery label from 2023
108 × 132 × 1 1/2" (274.3 × 335.3 × 3.8 cm)
Acquired through the generosity of Alicia Legg
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

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