Park McArthur
Private Signs

McArthur is not solely concerned with the limitations of the disabled, however, but sees the structures built (and missing) around disability access as part of a larger system of social and economic injustices. In her installation work Private Signs, McArthur appropriates shapes, colors, and geometries from familiar types of signage. Some of these signs—like a blue rectangle inside a green-bounded white box—are recognizable as handicapped access parking signs, while others are a bit more obscure in their composition. All of the signs in McArthur’s wall-sized installation take on the look of a minimalist, geometric painting, however, with the words, symbols, and directions stripped away to leave simplified arrangements.

American artist Park McArthur creates sculptures, sound, video, wall-based works, and writing that all grow out of her experience of everyday life. Responding to and working with the daily, McArthur uses her artistic practice as a way to critique and interrogate systems and conditions. Wheelchair-bound due to a form of muscular dystrophy, McArthur’s work, at times, deals with methods and limitation of access that the artist and others with disabilities face. Her New York gallery exhibition, Ramps (2014), consisted of portable wheelchair ramps borrowed from art spaces and institutions around the city. Placed in the gallery, directly on the floor, these portable ramps took on the look of Arte Povera sculptures, while also highlighting an issue important to the artist. During the run of the exhibition, the organizations that loaned the ramps also posted signs on their own buildings explaining the lack of wheelchair access, and pointing towards McArthur’s exhibition.