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The modern metropolis can be a site of sensory overload. A major contributor to the visual anarchy is the ubiquity of signs, signals, billboards, and video displays, all competing with each other for attention. It is not surprising to find that signs appear with greater frequency in modern and contemporary photographs than in any other medium. Even before the Pop Art movement, they were admitted into the photographic frame as bold graphic elements. Signs: Wordplay in Photography explores the myriad uses of signs in the work of 20th- and 21st-century photographers, from Walker Evans to Lee Friedlander and Ed Ruscha.

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