People Are Stealing New York Public Art Street Signs—Again

One of Steve Powers' signs for the NYC Department of Transportation. Photo via the DOT's Instagram.
One of Steve Powers' signs for the NYC Department of Transportation.
Photo via the DOT's Instagram.

Fanciful signage by artist Steve Powers had a short tenure hanging on New York signposts before getting swiped by fans who couldn’t resist taking the graphic artworks home, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Signs by artist Ryan McGinness suffered the same fate a year ago.

Powers is well-known for his public art installations, which are often in the form of murals and draw inspiration from vintage, hand-painted signs. He published a book last year detailing the creation of dozens of murals from around the globe.

One of Steve Powers' signs for the NYC Department of Transportation. Photo via Vice's Creators Project.

One of Steve Powers’ signs for the NYC Department of Transportation.
Photo via Vice’s Creators Project.

The light-hearted signs were posted more than seven feet above the street, but most of the 30 disappeared within a week. Powers calls the aluminum signs, sponsored by the New York City Department of Transportation, exercises in “emotional wayfinding.”

“They’re like stop signs,” Powers told the Journal. “They ask you to stop and reflect in the state that you’re in.”

 

One of Steve Powers' signs for the NYC Department of Transportation. Photo via Vice's Creators Project.

One of Steve Powers’ signs for the NYC Department of Transportation.
Photo via Vice’s Creators Project.

In what may be a subtle reference to misdeeds by powerful people, one sign hung across the street from the Cooper Union has colorful an arrow labeled “abusers” pointing at the school, with a hand balled into a fist at the other end. The school recently instituted tuition after a century of full scholarships for all students, resulting in a lawsuit and an investigation by the Attorney General.

Another sign is emblazoned with an image of a pigeon wearing a sign reading “holler back.” Another shows two laundry baskets and the words “life: a load of darks, a load of lights,” suggesting the notion that you win some and you lose some.


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