Norm Magnusson


The I-75 Project 
by Norm Magnusson.

For the past few years, I've been creating what I call "art of social conscience:" tv spots, viral emails, paintings and posters, but none of it has engaged viewers as much as this series of "historical" markers, each one a small story containing a discrete point of view. 

The types of people who stop to read them are collectively defined more by their curiosity about the world around them than they are by any shared ideological leanings, which makes them a perfect audience for a carefully crafted message.   And unlike most artworks on social or political themes, these markers don’t merely  speak to the small group of viewers that seek out such work in galleries and museums; instead, they gently insert themselves into the public realm.

 "Are they real?" is a question viewers frequently ask, meaning "are they state-sponsored?"  I love this confusion and hope to slip a message in while people are mulling it over.

These markers are just the kind of public art I really enjoy: gently assertive and non-confrontational, firmly thought-provoking and pretty to look at and just a little bit subversive.


More on the I-75 Project can be found here:



American Symbol
Loki the trickster racoon
Un coq à deux têtes

Norm Magnusson


Public art projects


2007 "On this site stood" The Main St. Sculpture Project of

The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT.

2006 “The Byrdcliffe Outdoor Sculpture Show," Woodstock, N.Y.

2006 “Unexpected Catskills” Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, Woodstock, N.Y.

2005 “Karen DeWitt,” Historical marker with political content installed on

Heart’s Content Road in Greene County, N.Y.

2004 “Do unto others,” “Practice what you preach” Two :30 videos that aired 96 times on national tv leading up the Nov., 2004 election.

2003 “Jesus loves you, Bush doesn’t” Viral internet project


Solo Exhibitions


2008 “Animal allegories” Gallery 668, Battenville, N.Y.

"America's Seven Cardinal Virtues" Van Brunt Gallery, Beacon, N.Y.

2007 "On this site stood" The Main St. Sculpture Project of

The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT.

2006 “America’s Seven Deadly Sins” Van Brunt Gallery, Beacon, N.Y.

2004 “Figures of speech in paint” Inquiring Mind Gallery, Saugerties, N.Y.

2003 “Vacation” Spike Gallery, N.Y., N.Y.

2003 “Metaphorical Menagerie” Pember Museum, Granville, N.Y.

2002 “After the 11th” BridgewaterFineArts, N.Y., N.Y.

2001 “The Animal Alphabet” Bridgewater/Lustberg/Blumenfeld, N.Y. 2001

“Image and Allegory,” The University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS

2000 "Norm Magnusson -- American Painter" The Springfield Art Museum,

Springfield, Mo.

1999 "Central Park Animals - Then and Now" The Arsenal Gallery,

Central Park, N.Y. , N.Y.

1998 "American Paintings" Bridgewater/Lustberg Gallery, N.Y.

1997 “Norm Magnusson” J.J. Brookings Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

1997 "Travelogue" Bridgewater/Lustberg Gallery

1996 “Norm Magnusson” Picturesque Gallery, Akaroa, New Zealand

1995 "Bestiary" Bridgewater/Lustberg Gallery

1994 "The Normandy Paintings" Bridgewater/Lustberg Gallery

1993 “Recent paintings” The Gallery Upstairs at Flamingo East, NYC

1992 “Norm Magnusson” The Gallery Upstairs at Flamingo East, NYC


No matter how many diversions I take, I expect that I'll always return to this style.   It's the main body of my work and is my favorite kind of art: symbolic art.   Metaphors, allegories, parables, whatever you want to call them, I enjoy creating them immensely.   

There's a long literary history of looking to nature for symbols of human existence: the metaphysical and romantic poets, Housman, Hopkins, Whitman, Frost, Ackerman and on and on.   It was not until I had been making these paintings for 7 years or so that I realized I was creating art in the fashion I had studied as an English major, but creating metaphors with pictures instead of words.  





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