Art: Street Scene

Americans are so surrounded by signs —fidgety neons, blatant billboards and tricky traffic markers—that the messages are often lost in the shuffle. This week Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art is staging a show, "Signs in the Street," which it hopes will open the U.S.'s sign-weary eyes to just how chaotic the situation has become.

To illustrate the problem, the museum relaxed its standing rule against exhibiting anything of bad design, chose for its horrible example a picture of a street corner at 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue, near its own building. On or beneath one overburdened lamppost are six different signs (see...

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