Sam Durant

Selections from "Electric Signs"

Paula Cooper Gallery
529 W 21st Street
Visible from W 21st Street, in the gallery's vitrine space
New York
Jul 30th 2020 — Sep 12th 2020

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At Paula Cooper, Sam Durant’s The Future is Female and Do Good Things! (both 2018) are on display in the gallery’s vitrine space, where they are visible from West 21st Street.

The pieces represent two relatively new iterations of Durant’s “Electric Signs,” a series he has periodically revisited over the nearly two decades since its inception in 2001. Essentially, the concept is that each piece serves to highlight a message that appeared on a “hand-made” sign carried at a protest anywhere in the world, at any point in history—so long as its content does not betray its origins, such as with the mention of a certain name, for instance.

While initially realizing the project, Durant focused exclusively on archival photographs documenting the civil rights movement in the 1960s, with subsequent revivals gradually loosening and finally disbanding any parameters related to geographical or chronological criteria. Indeed, some of the latest additions to “Electric Signs” pull from protests that took place within the last few years.

Sam Durant, The Future Is Female, 2018, electric sign with vinyl text, 49 1/2 x 54 5/8 x 10 3/4 inches.

Sam Durant, Do Good Things!, 2018, electric sign with vinyl text, 45 x 75 x 10 inches.