Things To Tell Your Lover by Aaron Krach Words repeat. Not just in the world—Stop, Push, Open, Sorry We’re Closed—but inside my head. I change a letter, repeat, try to rhyme, repeat until another word or phrase takes its place. It’s a verbal tic only I can hear—and see in these hundreds of photographs taken since 2010. New York City is filled with these verbal-visible tics created by the uncountable words and phrases, signs and graffiti that repeat and change. Noticing the words is overwhelming in a queasy, but pleasurable way, I think. Because the city is speaking to me. I am not just another pair of eyes scanning the cityscape. I am a person the city has chosen to communicate with. I grew up in a short drive from downtown Los Angeles, the scuzzy part, far from the beaches or Hollywood. In high school I remember visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art, when it was new to Japantown and around the corner from Skid Row. Memory fails regarding what art I saw, but the exhibition title is lodged in my head permanently: A Forest of Signs. I’d like to steal that title for this collection of photographs. These are pictures of signs and graffiti, any kind of found text, mostly from New York but also from other cities I have visited over the last two years. A forest is cool or warm, very alive, filled with organic matter, soil and plants and decomposing leaves. A forest is filled with smells: mud, sharp pine, dusty pollen. Signs feel cold, inorganic, mathematical, from the other side of the brain. The city--as a place, as an idea--is a forest of signs, a merger of these two groups—if we notice. Without seeing, the city remains a template, a guide, a floorplan for my day. But if we keep our eyes looking, it’s a natural place providing sustenance and inspiration.