Outdoor art has long suffered from an abundance of twee pronouncements. This is especially so with light-writing and pithier graffiti, which (in their less adventurous iterations) rely solely on decontextualization to offset otherwise vapid statements. Michael Pederson, the human behind Miguel Marquez Outside, is an utterly luminary counter-insurgent, producing genuinely original, combative, and entertaining outdoor installations.
Pederson’s work is vast and refreshingly aggressive. Park Rules unfold into a surreal mysticism; a payphone is elevated into an impossible time machine; virtually all utterances appear designed to unsettle and challenge automatism and unconsciousness. That’s not to say that Pederson’s presentation is that of a sledgehammer—there’s a constant thread of restraint, subtlety, and tactful design in each piece. But then again, this deployment of digestible design seems innately subversive, an adoption of generic marketing aesthetics in service of work that’s deeply, maniacally radical.