Artist Richard Ankrom kept getting mixed up when driving a certain section of the L.A. freeways, so he took it on himself to fix the problem — and make it a performance art project at the same time.
It succeeded exactly as he had hoped: everyone, including the California Department of Transportation, thought it was a “legit” change in the sign. From the 12 May 2002 issue:
Give Me a Sign
Richard Ankrom, 46, an artist in Los Angeles, Calif., planned his latest masterpiece, a combination paint and performance work, for two years: he altered a major road sign on the Harbor Freeway in downtown. He put up his work in broad daylight, but was unnoticed because he was dressed as a road worker. The audience: 150,000 motorists per day. The payoff: no one noticed, not even state transportation engineers. The plan was to announce the project a year later, but a friend tipped off the press after 9 months. The modification, done to exact Federal Highway Administration specifications, helps motorists navigate a complicated transition ahead. “The experts are saying that Mr. Ankrom did a fantastic job,” said a Caltrans spokeswoman. “They thought it was an internal job.” The agency plans to leave the modification in place, since it is in fact helpful to motorists. Ankrom says helping out motorists “was the whole point.” (Los Angeles Times) …If You Want Something Done Right, Do it Yourself — Industrial Division.
The best part: Ankrom supplied a “time lapse” photo of himself doing the work:
Ankrom is, in fact, a sign-painter by profession.
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