With sign language and sound, an artist upends audience perceptions

By Andrew Russeth

Last summer, a small plane hauled a sign with an intriguing phrase over Manchester, England: “The Sound of Smiling.”

At the Queens Museum in New York right now, “Time Owes Me Rest Again” is scrawled on a wall, each supersized word accompanied by curving lines swooping across the enormous mural.

And earlier this year, visitors to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis were confronted with an atrium-filling artwork listing sources of personal trauma, including “Dinner Table Syndrome.”

“I’m finally at the point where I can do whatever I want, and I am going for it,” the artist responsible for all of this, Christine Sun Kim, said in American Sign Language from Berlin, her longtime home.

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