4 Signs by Norm Magnusson

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Political Pranks

Update 5-28-07: “Norm Magnusson: On This Site Stood” will be on exhibition at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, June 24 through August 12, 2007.

Originally posted 4-1-07:

4 Signs by Norm Magnusson

For the past few years I’ve been striving to create art of social conscience with the soft touch that lets it points-of-view resonate and not alienate.

I created two :30 videos that aired 96 times on a small national tv network leading up to 2004’s general election. I created a viral email that was forwarded across America and showed up on numerous websites all over the world. I created “historical” markers that were installed in several exhibitions in Woodstock, N.Y. and made their way across the internet on The Huffington Post. I am in the process of planning a series of these markers for New York City.

Historical markers are an interesting vehicle for socially pointed points of view. The types of people who stop to read them are collectively defined more by their curiosity about the world around them than they are by any shared ideological leanings. This makes them a perfect audience for a well-crafted message with a non-confrontational tone. My historical markers persuade without preaching, and incite thoughtfulness without creating anger. I want to make more of them.

And unlike most artworks on social or political themes, these markers don’t merely preach to the small choir that seeks out such work in galleries and museums, they gently assert themselves as they inhabit the public realm (brass plaques affixed to buildings here in NYC, roadside markers elsewhere) where they surprise and delight the large group of people who stumble upon them.

They are public art at its finest: gently assertive, firmly thought provoking, non-confrontational and beautiful. This is what I’ve been working on and will be working on for a while.

© Norm Magnusson