Sunday, March 10, 2013

Norm Magnusson's NY State Thruway Project

Posted By on Sun, Mar 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM


Woodstock based, self-described "artist of social consciousness" Norm Magnusson is on a mission to document history along the New York State Thruway. But Magnusson has a different notion of the region's historicity than the classic blue-and-yellow land markers typically endorse.

His sculptures of cast aluminum and acrylic paint look just like the historical markers found throughout this culturally rich state—in front of stone houses where famous people lived or near scenic overlooks that once served as battle sites. But Magnusson's 96"-tall markers report on contemporary social and political issues less likely to make it into history's grand narrative: gender wage disparity, global warming, illegal immigration, taxes, health care.

According to Magnusson, the disturbing facts that follow "On This Site Stood" are meant to invoke contemplation and curiosity: "Ry Brauer, typical American teen. By the age of 18, he had witnessed over 30,000 murders on TV"; "Jane King, whose white male coworkers earn 39% more than she does for doing the same job"; "American patriot Rob't Hass who believed that a healthy democracy must discourage apathy and respect dissent."

Magnusson, who the New York Times dubbed "a Michael Moore of the highway," has created a Kickstarter to raise money for the installation of one of these markers in each of the 27 rest areas of the New York State Thruway, one of the busiest highway systems in America. Magnusson needs to raise at least $63,515 by Wednesday, March 20, to get funding for the project. As if you need more reasons to support this project, he's offering prizes for donations starting as low as $1.

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