What’s Up with that Sign?

The 2720 Cherokee Street Gallery sign might look eerily familiar to you; this is because it is a nod towards the influential 1970 New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual. This manual that was created by Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda for the purpose of making the New York Subway System easier to navigate, and that which would later become an iconic piece of modern design reaching across countries and cultures, is a perfect example of what the gallery aims to present. The gallery aspires to present to its guests a curation of artworks that shows human history through the lens of symbolism and communication’s complex and multi-faceted interaction.

This graphics manual did not only create an entirely new system of wayfinding for millions and millions of the city’s dwellers, but it also played a part in sparking inspiration in the minds of artists. These artists, stirred to action by their situations and environment, started new and revolutionary movements. The New York Subway System, during the 1970’s and the 1980’s, became both a rendezvous spot and a canvas for artists, whose works permeate art even to this day in the form of graffiti and Hip Hop culture.

These events are a great example of how humans communicate through the use of symbols and art. This attribution of meaning to symbols and signs and the study of using signs and symbols in for the purposes of interpretation is a compelling field of study known as semiotics. Semiotics is the method of analysis that we use at the gallery in order to bring meaningful work to our audience. For this reason, the use of the iconic New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual as a reference for creating the gallery’s signage was a perfect way to represent exactly what the gallery aims for.

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