LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), a nonprofit public art group that's committed to curating site- and situation-specific contemporary art projects in Los Angeles and beyond, brings its first major country-wide initiative, The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project, to Houston. The project is a series of artist-produced billboards and activations that will unfold along Interstate 10 from Florida to California through 2015. Using approximately 100 billboards, 10 artists will create chapter groupings of 10 billboards that will be thematically linked to the overall concept of Manifest Destiny.
The project launched in Jacksonville, Florida, with billboards by artist Shana Lutker; continued into Mobile, Alabama, with billboards by artist Mario Ybarra Jr.; headed west to New Orleans with billboards by artist Sanford Biggers; and now arrives in Houston for the fourth chapter of the project with 10 billboards along I-10 by Los Angeles-based artist Eve Fowler.
The installation launches on June 21 with a reading and opening reception at The Brandon.
Eve Fowler's chapter of The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project, titled it is so, is it so, depicts excerpts of text from Bee Time Vine and Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein. Through isolating these quotes from their original context and reproducing them on a large scale, Fowler poetically introduces them into a dialogue with the Texas landscape as residents and travelers move throughout their day with quotes such as "in the morning there is meaning" and "in the evening there is feeling."
The open-ended gestures lure travelers westward and encourage them to pause and contemplate their space, existence and destiny. A map of the billboards can be found online.
In addition to the billboards, free lending libraries in truck stops, hardware stores and coffee shops will feature books to borrow or take that relate to the quotations on the billboards and Stein's life, the majority being Modernist literature by contemporaries of Stein such as Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Mann, Marcel Proust, Henry James, Truman Capote and Anne Carson. Each of these texts subtly explores gender identity, a crux of Fowler's practice as an artist.