An updated version of the familiar blue and white icon that’s long symbolized accessibility in parking lots and restrooms alike is now taking its place in the art world.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City is displaying a new, more active version of the “handicapped” symbol alongside other culturally-relevant designs from the last few decades like the “@” symbol commonly used in email, the pin found on Google Maps and the video games Pac-Man, Pong and Tetris.
The revamped design, known as the “Accessible Icon,” depicts an in-motion visual of a person using a wheelchair. Created by Tim Ferguson-Saunder, Brian Glenney and Sara Hendren, the new icon started out as a grassroots effort in Boston with supporters placing stickers featuring the updated graphic over signs with the old wheelchair symbol. More recently, it has been adopted by the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and New York City, among other localities, businesses and schools.
Now the Museum of Modern Art is showcasing the icon as part of its exhibit titled “A Collection of Ideas” which is on display through February 2015.
Curator Paola Antonelli said the Accessible Icon represents a truly “ground up” effort to use a visual work to spark discussion about what disability means in society.
“It is not only effective, it is also simple and elegant,” Antonelli said of the new icon in an email to Disability Scoop. “Discussing both the process and the end product of the Accessible Icon project in the galleries will help demonstrate not only how design works but how it can be applied in the public realm, and by everyday people.”