Friday, October 8, 2010

PoArt Exhibit: John Morse [38]

John Morse
New York/Atlanta, Georgia, USA

9/1/2010 - Initial contact re: Signs of Our Times:

i was recently commissioned by flux projects to create a series of 'roadside haiku' using the format of yard sale signs (aka bandit signs). 500 of the signs (ten haiku in editions of 50 each) are posted around the city of atlanta. i thought this might be of interest to your 'signs of our times' project.

more info on the project at:

the ten different haiku can be viewed in situ on my facebook web page at:

the installation has raised a tiny tempest (a bit of fun to round out the dog days of summer i guess) as a local "city beautification" group came out in opposition to the signs, including a running story on the local ch 2 news. please see:

i've also attached one of the images for your quick review.

please let me know if i may provide you and mobius with further information. thanks for your consideration.

9/1/2010 - Further discourse (excerpts):

JW (co-curator):
Just a thought ...

could I print two of the signs for our exhibition --- i was thinking of putting them on poles outside our building (they might get taken down --- not sure but i could try)

.. i was thinking of

Take the important first step:

--- in a twisted way it would fit our double themes of Signs of Our Times and The Prostitution of Art..

I also like the freudian sign ... especially since there is a hospital right across the street from us...

Freud: "No hay accidentes."
Pues, que paso?

I love the idea that people might briefly scan them and not register what they are really saying until a little later -- wait a minute .. what did that sign say????

JM (Artist):
wow, thanks so much for the kind words and generous feedback. per your request attached are three med res images from the installation. i have hi res or can send lo res should u like.

the only other info i think could be added would include:

Each edition of 50 signs is dated, signed and numbered by the artist.

re the show at mobius gallery. this is an actual gallery show, right? i do not have pdfs of each sign but sign printer may. if you use i would request that you also give flux projects credit.

9/18/2010 - Opening Night:

two 12"x18" signs printed and laminated via Kinko's.
Glued following to back of each sign:
John Morse c 2010, Courtesy Flux Projects
(with hand drawn circle around "c")

Photos by William Evertson:

8/23/2010 - Excerpt from Facebook, Closing Event Invite:

JM (Artist):
looks like a great event. have fun and thanks for the invite!

Mobius, Inc.:
some tourists stopped by your Dr Freud sign and took a photo

JM (Artist):
it's like a strum of a guitar... a tiny action that quietly reverberates. you wonder where that photo will end up (if anywhere) and who might see it (if anyone). art is not a diary, something we create to put under the bed -- my little se...cret! we put it out there to share, to complete it as art. it makes me happy to hear that it has been shared.

10/7/2010 - Statement, Reviews, Links:

here's a statement on the project:

Bandit signs, the small, corrugated plastic advertisements planted with wire stakes into the ground or stapled onto wooden power poles at edges of roadways and the corners of busy city intersections, normally feature business promotions underscored by a sense of urgency (LOSE 30 POUNDS IN 30 DAYS!!!, GET CASH NOW!!!). They are universally recognized, read by virtually everyone who glances at them, and are so common that they need no introduction to the average passerby. What an ideal place for poetry.

Using the brief format of traditional haiku—three lines of five/seven/five syllables—John Morse transforms the familiar bandit sign into a delivery device for poetic snapshots of the urban condition presented and consumed within the brief seconds of stop and go traffic. Five hundred 12" x 18" signs, in editions of 50 that each feature one of 10 different haiku (eight in English, two in Spanish) that appeared throughout Atlanta.

Traditional haiku relies upon a seasonal reference (kigo), with a mention, perhaps obliquely, to the season in which the haiku is written. In its opening lines, Roadside Haiku also offers a kigo of sorts, with ostensible nods to the defining consumerist allure of a bandit sign: making money, losing weight, selling old gold, yard sales, etc. Within the 17 syllables, however, the Roadside Haiku reveals an entirely different message, offering compact observations and commentary on modern life.

some links:

here's the vimeo link to a 2 and half minute video on the project:

an article from the new yorker on the project:

an article from the guardian newspaper (uk):

my atlanta gallery website:

my charleston, sc website:

10/7/2010 - Epilogue:

JW (Co-Curator):
someone walked off with the freud sign
i have to admit that was my favorite so i was kind of bummed ...
hopefully it will have a happy home ...

JM (Artist):
i think it's a compliment that someone stole it! i (too) often think about art going to a happy home. when i have work in a gallery i like to say, 'most important is that the art go to a good home' -- like you're picking a home for a puppy!

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