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Electric Signs

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Images #

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_7_v9.jpg
End White Supremacy, 2008
Electric sign with vinyl text
96″ × 135.9″
Photo credit: Jenni Carter

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_8_v8.jpg
CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) Civil Rights Demonstration, New York, 1963 (index) (End White Supremacy), 2009
Graphite on paper
22″ × 30″
Photo credit: Renée Martin

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_9_v8.jpg
End White Supremacy, 2008
Installation view, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
Electric sign with vinyl text
96″ × 135.9″
Photo credit: EPW Studio/Maria Macri

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_2_v9.jpg
200 Years of White Lies, 2008
Electric sign with vinyl text
96″ × 133.5″
Photo credit: Jenni Carter

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_3_v9.jpg
Australian Aborigines Protest Over Bi-centenary Celebrations, Sydney, 1985 (index) (200 Years of White Lies), 2009
Graphite on paper
22″ × 30″
Photo credit: Renée Martin

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_4_v9.jpg
Ask Us What We Want, 2008
Electric sign with vinyl text
96″ × 135.9″
Photo credit: Jenni Carter

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_5_v9.jpg
Aborigine Rights Demonstration, Sydney, 1972 (index) (Ask Us What We Want), 2009
Graphite on paper
22″ × 30″
Photo credit: Renée Martin

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_6_v9.jpg
Ask Us What We Want, 2008
Installation view, Biennale of Sydney 2008
Electric sign with vinyl text
62″ × 93.5″; Photo credit: Jenni Carter

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_10_v13.jpg
This is Freedom?, 2008
Aluminum, electric sign with vinyl text (pole-mounted)
63.5″ × 84.5″
Photo credit: Jenni Carter

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_11_v13.jpg
Civil Rights Protest Rally Preceding the Selma to Montgomery March (index) (This is Freedom?), 2009
Graphite on paper
30″ × 22″
Photo credit: Renée Martin

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_12_v11.jpg
This is Freedom?, 2008
Installation view, Biennale of Sydney 2008
Aluminum, electric sign with vinyl text
63.5″ × 84.5″
Photo credit: Jenni Carter

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_13_v10.jpg
You Are On Indian Land Show Some Respect, 2008
Electric sign with vinyl text
75.5″ × 82.5″
Photo credit: Jenni Carter

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_14_v10.jpg
You Are On Indian Land Show Some Respect, 2008
Installation view, Biennale of Sydney 2008
Electric sign with vinyl text
75.5″ × 82.5″
Photo credit: Jenni Carter

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_15_v9.jpg
Strike, 2003
Electric sign with vinyl text
48″ × 62″ × 11″
Photo credit: Thomas R. Dubrock

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_16_v8.jpg
Strike (index), 2004
Graphite on paper
30″ × 22″
Photo credit: Sheldon Collins

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_17_v9.jpg
Strike, 2003
Installation view, Project Row Houses, Houston
Electric sign with vinyl text
48″ × 62″ × 11″
Photo credit: Thomas R. Dubrock

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_18_v9.jpg
Tell It Like It Is, 2002
Electric sign with vinyl text
58″ × 64″ × 11″
Photo credit: Achim Kukulies

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_19_v9.jpg
Student Strike, UC Berkeley, 1969, 2002
Graphite on paper
20″ × 15″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_20_v9.jpg
Tell It Like It Is, 2002
Installation view, Public Prosecutors’ Office, City of Arnhem
Electric sign with vinyl text
58″ × 64″ × 11″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_21_v9.jpg
US Historians, 2002
Electric sign with vinyl text
40″ × 82″ × 11″
Photo credit: Achim Kukulies

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_22_v9.jpg
Freedom March from Selma to Montgomery, 1965, 2002
Graphite on paper
15″ × 20″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_23_v8.jpg
We Are The People, 2003
Electric sign with vinyl text
48″ × 77″ × 11″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_24_v8.jpg
We Are The People (index), 2003
Graphite on paper
30″ × 22″
Photo credit: Sheldon Collins

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_25_v8.jpg
We Are The People, 2003
Installation view, Project Row Houses, Houston
Electric sign with vinyl text; 48″ × 77″ × 11″
Photo credit: Thomas R. Dubrock

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_26_v8.jpg
Welcome Back, 2002
Electric sign with vinyl text
48″ × 58″ × 11″
Photo credit: Achim Kukulies

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_27_v8.jpg
Atlanta, 1960, 2002
Graphite on paper
20″ × 15″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_28_v7.jpg
Like, man, I’m tired of waiting, 2002
Electric sign with vinyl text
81″ × 88″ × 11″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_29_v7.jpg
Civil Rights March, Wash. DC, 1963, 2002
Graphite on paper
15″ × 20″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_30_v7.jpg
Like, man, I’m tired of waiting, 2002
Installation view, The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford
Electric sign with vinyl text
81″ × 88″ × 11″
Photo credit: John Groo

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_31_v7.jpg
No Lie Can Live Forever, 2003
Electric sign with vinyl text
82″ × 58″ × 11″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_32_v7.jpg
No Lie Can Live Forever (index), 2003
Graphite on paper
22″ × 30″
Photo credit: Sheldon Collins

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_33_v6.jpg
No Lie Can Live Forever, 2003
Installation view, Project Row Houses, Houston
Electric sign with vinyl text
74″ × 56″ × 11″
Photo credit: Thomas R. Dubrock

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_34_v6.jpg
Let’s judge ourselves as people, 2002
Electric sign with vinyl text
69″ × 48″ × 11″
Photo credit: Achim Kukulies

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_35_v6.jpg
Miss America Pageant, Atlantic City 1968, 2002
Graphite on paper
15″ × 20″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_36_v5.jpg
Justice, 2002 Electric sign with vinyl text
38″ × 70″ × 11″
Photo credit: Achim Kukulies

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_37_v5.jpg
Untitled (index for Justice), 2002
Graphite on paper
20″ × 15″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_38_v4.jpg
Justice, 2002
Installation view, Public Prosecutors’ Office, City of Arnhem
Electric sign with vinyl text
38″ × 70″ × 11″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_39_v4.jpg
See You in Chicago in August, 2002
Electric sign with vinyl text
53 1/2″ × 44″ × 11″
Photo credit: Achim Kukulies

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_40_v4.jpg
Washington DC 1968, 2002
Graphite on paper
15″ × 20″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_41_v3.jpg
Legality is not Morality, 2003
Electric sign with vinyl text
74″ × 56″ × 11″
Photo credit: Thomas R. Dubrock

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_42_v3.jpg
Legality is not Morality (index), 2003
Graphite on paper
30″ × 22″
Photo credit: Sheldon Collins

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_43_v2.jpg
Legality is not Morality, 2003
Installation view, Project Row Houses, Houston
Electric sign with vinyl text; 74″ × 56″ × 11″
Photo credit: Thomas R. Dubrock

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_44_v2.jpg
Male Chauvinists Beware, 2004
Electric sign with vinyl text
74″ × 58.5″ × 11″

Open Your Eyes
Open Your Eyes, 2017
Electric sign with vinyl text
144 cm × 163 cm
Photo credit: Robert Glowacki

NoJusticeNoPeace
No Justice No Peace, 2017
Electric sign with vinyl text
120 cm × 198 cm
Photo credit: Robert Glowacki

IfYouAreNotAngryYouAreNotPayingAttention
If You Are Not Angry You Are Not Paying Attention, 2017
Electric sign with vinyl text
176 cm × 166 cm
Photo credit: Robert Glowacki

Stay
Stay, 2017
Electric sign with vinyl text
130 cm × 223 cm
Photo credit: Robert Glowacki

Am%2520I%2520Next
Am I Next?, 2017
Electric sign with vinyl text
227 cm × 229 cm
Photo credit: Robert Glowacki

More Than 1_2 The World
More Than 1/2 The World, 2017
Electric sign with vinyl text
250 cm × 164 cm
Photo credit: Robert Glowacki

Forward Not Backwards
Forwards Not Backwards, 2017
Electric sign with vinyl text
228 cm × 210 cm
Photo credit: Robert Glowacki

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_AloneWeAreADrop-sm.jpg
Alone, We Are A Drop Together, An Ocean, 2017
Electric sign with vinyl text
177 cm × 176 cm
Photo credit: Robert Glowacki

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_46_v2.jpg
7 Signs. Removed, cropped, enlarged and illuminated (plus index), 2002
nstallation view, The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford
Electric signs with vinyl text
Dimensions vary
Photo credit: John Groo

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_47_v2.jpg
200 Years of White Lies; End White Supremacy; Ask Us What We Want; This is Freedom?, 2008
Installation view, Biennale of Sydney 2008
Aluminum, electric signs with vinyl text; Dimensions vary
Photo credit: Jenni Carter

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_48_v2.jpg
200 Years of White Lies; End White Supremacy; This is Freedom?, 2008
Installation view, Biennale of Sydney 2008
Aluminum, electric signs with vinyl text
Dimensions vary
Photo credit: Jenni Carter

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_1_v9.jpg
Exclusão Não é Solução, 2010
Electric sign with vinyl text
41.4″ × 78.7″ × 9.8″

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_45_v2.jpg
Landscape Art Sign (Emory Douglas), 2003
Electric sign with plastic text
50″ × 30″ × 9″
Photo credit: Jason Nocito

http://samdurant.net/files/gimgs/th-20_49_v2.jpg
Displaced Sign, 2001
Electric sign with plastic letters
24″ × 94.5″ × 10.5″
Photo credit: Josh White


Text #

The signs are commercially produced outdoor illuminated display units. They are the types found on the sides of small, local businesses such as convenience stores, restaurants, liquor stores and auto repair shops. They are the type that is so ubiquitous and unremarkable as to be almost invisible in the vernacular landscape. The signs are made in the most basic and economical way possible: a metal box containing fluorescent light tubes with a plastic face on which vinyl text has been attached.

The text is commercially produced black, opaque vinyl. The texts are sourced from photographs of protest marches, sit ins, uprisings or other events around liberation struggles, mainly during the 1960s and ’70s but also including recent events. The criterion for selecting the images is both simple and specific. The photo should contain an image of a hand made sign and the text or message on the sign should be general in nature. The message should not refer to any specific event, cause, person or time, in other words, text that could have more than one meaning depending on the context or time in which they are seen. Once the signs have been selected they are digitally scanned and the text is cropped out of the original picture. The texts are then enlarged to the appropriate scale and affixed to the face of each sign so that you have a mechanically reproduced, exact replica of the hand painted original.