Norm Magnuson has created an absolutely brilliant guerilla-marketing campaign for political ideas based on the historical markers seen along the side of the road in a number of American States.
For the past few years, I’ve been creating what I call “art of social conscience:” tv spots, viral emails, paintings and posters, but none of it has engaged viewers as much as this series of “historical” markers, each one a small story containing a discrete point 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, which makes them a perfect audience for a carefully crafted message. And unlike most artworks on social or political themes, these markers don’t merely speak to the small group of viewers that seek out such work in galleries and museums; instead, they gently insert themselves into the public realm.
“Are they real?” is a question viewers frequently ask, meaning “are they state-sponsored?” I love this confusion and hope to slip a message in while people are mulling it over.
These markers are just the kind of public art I really enjoy: gently assertive and non-confrontational, firmly thought-provoking and pretty to look at and just a little bit subversive.
And now, I’ll let the signs speak for themselves….