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JOHN FEKNER (US)

John Fekner (b. 1950) is best-known for his series of environmentally conceptual works consisting of words, symbols, and dates spraypainted throughout the five boroughs of New York in the 1970's. These “Warning Signs” pointed out hazards and dangerous conditions that overtook New York City and its environment during this decade. The project expanded in 1977 where Fekner created “Word-Signs." Through hand-cut cardboard stencils and spray paint he began a crusade that was tirelessly concerned with environmental and social issues.

Starting in the industrial streets of Queens and the East River bridges and continuing to the South Bronx in 1980 his “messages” brought awareness to areas that were in desperate need of attention, whether through demolition or repairs. His “labeling” of these structures brought emphasis to the problems, where the objective was a shout to the authorities, agencies, and local communities to, above all, take action. 

His work is held in numerous museum collections across the US and Europe including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC; and Malmo Museum, Sweden. His work has also received recognition from the New York Foundation for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts.

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