What's Your Sign? | Curator | September 2017 - December 2017 | Figge Museum of Art, Davenport, IA

For as long as goods have been bought and sold, shopkeepers and traders have found visually arresting ways to communicated their wares. However, signs are much more than advertisements. Sometimes, signs are the manifestations of desire. Alternately, signs can be textually directive, informing pedestrians and drivers of the wonders awaiting them within the shop. Occasionally, the product functions as its own signage, displayed alluringly for passersby. Unlike buildings, which are massive and exude a sense of permanence, signs are transitory. Though the structure may remain more or less the same when ownership transitions, signs let us know a shift has transpired - without signs, how would we discern that the greasy pizza place had transformed into an upscale vegan wrap emporium? Often employing design principles apparent in other contemporaneous print and visual media, signs tell us where we are in time as well as geography. Curated by Vero Rose Smith, this exhibition explores works in the University of Iowa Museum of Art permanent collections related to the evolution of signage. Additionally, a symposium on this topic with a keynote address delivered by James Wines will be hosted at the University of Iowa on September 8th and 9th, 2017. This exhibition was made possible by the University of Iowa Museum of Art Legacies for Iowa: A Collections-Sharing Project, Supported by the Matthew Bucksbaum Family.