Word Up! A Survey of Recent Text Based Work
September 10, 2011 – October 22, 2011 For immediate release
Benrimon Contemporary is pleased to announce Word Up! a group exhibition featuring works by Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Charles Lutz, Jason Rhoades, SONIC, Trey Speegle, Do-Ho Suh, John Waters and others.
Language and words have become a common theme in art today. Words have been incorporated into art beginning in the European Middle Ages with Illuminated manuscripts. Nineteenth century American art used words in trompe-l’oeil paintings. The European Cubists affixed printed materials to their works. In the 1960s and 1970s American Pop artists appropriated text from everyday life. At the same time Conceptual artists utilized words as a way of making ideas the central component to their works. Since then artists have employed language and words for numerous reason. Words can serve as signs, function as metaphors, captions or as part of interactive artworks involving dialogue. They tell narratives, decode the structure of language itself, can be employed for their formal qualities, and provide socio-political commentary.
Selecting the word, phrase, font or text for the work is an integral element in its creation. The words may evoke different thoughts or images for the viewer depending on the context or missing context of the phrase. Also, many design elements are considered such as size, typography and alignment when completing a work. Trey Speegle often uses affirmations, double entendre and word play in his works in order to explore themes of hope, love, longing and transformation.
Robert Indiana often uses simple, large, bold letters to create his “sculptural poems.” Alignment is an integral part of Indiana’s sculptures where he plays with stacking and tilting letters, as seen in his Love sculptures. Here the formal qualities of the letters are just as important as the word itself.
Though many artists employ the use of words in their works today, it is clear that language serves as many different functions as there are combination of letters and words. The works exhibited in this show are a survey of how words are incorporated into recent art. Words have become an integral component of the visual arts and language now serves as another vehicle for artist’s to communicate with their audience. This exhibition explores the full scope of ways in which words can be incorporated into, and transform, contemporary art.
Benrimon Contemporary is located at 514 West 24th Street, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10011 between 10th and 11th Avenues. Our hours are Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm and Sunday by appointment.
For further information or images, please contact Molly Sampson at 212.924.2400 or [email protected]