art everywhere


THIS SUMMER, BILLBOARDS boasting images by artists Glenn Ligon, Jacob Lawrence or Kerry James Marshall may give your road trip an unexpected dose of culture. Across the nation, the huge elevated outdoor billboards that usually advertise soft drinks, automobiles and the latest reality show, will be “marketing” art selected from museums across the United States. From billboards to subway posters and bus shelters, 50,000 displays will feature art by 50 different artists.

Art Everywhere is a collaboration between five prominent museums and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, which is investing about $500,000 in the campaign. As reported in the New York Times, the billboard industry is in decline and it is hoping the innovative effort may bolster the business. The participating museums—the Dallas Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and the Whitney Museum of Art—view the initiative as a creative way to celebrate American art, expose a wide audience to the works and perhaps encourage museum attendance.

Each museum selected 20 defining art works from its collection. Works by seven modern and contemporary African American artists—Ligon (“Self Portrait #7,” 1996), Lawrence (“War Series: The Letter,” 1946 and “The Visitors,” 1959), Marshall (“Many Mansions,” 1994), Romare Bearden (“Soul Thee,” 1968), William H. Johnson (“Blind Singer,” circa 1942), Archibald Motley (“Nightlife,” 1943) and Charles White (“Harvest Talk,” 1953), all men, unfortunately—are among those being considered for display.

Described as the largest outdoor art exhibition in history, the effort is democratic. Now through May 7, the public can vote and choose their favorite works. The 50 most popular will be announced on June 20 and be displayed nationwide for one month beginning Aug. 4. CT


Update: Viewing the 58 works of art selected by the public here.



Do you enjoy and value Culture Type? Please consider supporting its ongoing production by making a donation. Culture Type is an independent editorial project that requires countless hours and expense to research, report, write, and produce. To help sustain it, make a one-time donation or sign up for a recurring monthly contribution. It only takes a minute. Many Thanks for Your Support.