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New! Say CHEESE 🧀 From iconic photographer John Vachon.

Signs on U.S. 41, Kenosha County, Wisconsin (Cheese) by John Vachon
8"x10" ($40) | 11"x14" ($85) | 16"x20" ($275) | 20"x24" ($675) | 30"x40" ($1,950)

Greetings, collectors! We’ve got an extra cheesy release for you today—and we mean that quite literally. We're excited to share Signs on U.S. 41, Kenosha County, Wisconsin (Cheese) by American photographer John Vachon.

Shot in 1941, this declarative dairy delight was part of Vachon’s extensive photographic exploration of the great midwest during his time with the Farm Security Administration. We’ve been geeking out for years on work that came out of the FSA—see Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, and Walker Evans, just to name a new). 

With American highway culture still in its early days, farmers were among the first to utilize roadside advertising in a variety of ways. Vachon captured the essence of agricultural life in the midwest through thousands of images—his portrayal of road signs in particular was a precursor to the renowned work of legendary roadtripping photographer John Margolies.

This road sign appeared on U.S. 41 near Kenosha, Wisconsin—the cheesiest state of all. If you’ve been to that part of the country, you’ll know that cheesy signs about cheese pop up almost immediately after crossing the state line. One of our team members used to live in Chicago and play music with people in Milwaukee and Racine in the early aughts, so she’d regularly drive north into cheese country. After miles and miles of midwestern monotony, seeing a cheese beacon like this one glowing in the sky would unfailingly get her to pull over. She’d arrive at a practice or recording session with a bag full of half-wheels and curds, and although cheese is among the last things you’d want to eat before singing, it did wonders for morale.

The ephemeral pieces of history captured in Vachon’s photographs are unique snapshots of American life and sensationally silly statements on America’s favorite snack. So buckle up! We’re makin’ a pitstop!

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