Dennis Adams: Bus Shelters I

About the Exhibition

Dennis Adams’s propelling interest is in recent American History and the way it is presented in the news media. Adams (b.1948, Des Moines, IA) offers documentary information in a framework that subtly reflects the techniques of reporting, promoting, or propagandizing, without succumbing to these techniques himself. Instead of focusing on the meaning of information as it was originally intended, Adams shows how meaning is lost. “I have always tried to incorporate my own doubt into the structure of the work. My intention has been to set up a series of entrance and exits surrounding meaning, subverting its foundation.” The artist, one writer said, succeeds in abstracting meaning by fragmenting the space in which the viewer “collects” his information.

The display panel, which in a regulation shelter would feature commercial advertisements, instead holds changing black and white press photographs. Adams’s newly installed photographic image portrays Vietnamese boat people and is backed on the reverse by a text which reads “Become the Symptom.” By choosing a seemingly unrelated image and text, Adams’s purposefully chooses to sidestep any given message in favor of engaging the public in an active interpretative role.

This bus shelter will function “normally” and will, in fact, be more welcoming than most. Adams departs from the standardized bus shelter design by adding a bench and by creating diagonal vantages that add interest and deliberation to the views of the street and the graphic components that will illuminate the shelter’s display panels. The artist plans to change these displays periodically.

Sponsored by the Public Art Fund, Inc. with the cooperation of the New York City Department of Transportation.



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