posted by Meredith Kooi

Joel Ross is a smartass.  In his show at moniquemeloche gallery, ROADSIDE:  A Presentation of Recent Field Experiments and Prototypes, he presents seven of his roadside signage projects.  For these projects, he generates phrases, creates signs for the phrases, and then places them in different places.  He then photographs these interventions and prints them huge (55” x 80”).


The juxtapositions of the landscapes with the phrases are incredible. Be Gay, 2008 shows a red and white painted sign saying “Be Gay” beside a country road. With the photograph is a letter Ross wrote describing the story behind the sign and its placement.  One day while riding his bike, a truck full of guys drove past him shouting “faggot” and threw a beer can at his head.  My personal favorite is Jesus Said, 2009 where the sign reading “And then Jesus said:  Shut the fuck up” is standing in front of a barn with a spotlight on it in the dark.


The signs’ phrases are short and somewhat ambiguous, but at the same time to the point.  I mean, what does or can “be gay” really mean?  I wonder what it would be like to come in contact with the signs in person.  Would they feel like those weird signs in the Illinois countryside that talk about  Or some advertisement?  Or would it feel like you knew it was neither and that they were talking about something else?

Joel Ross, ROADSIDE:  A Presentation of Recent Field Experiments and Prototypes

May 2 – June 13, 2009

At moniquemeloche gallery

118 N. Peoria

Chicago, IL 60607