Thanks for Writing
February 17, 2014
We may have only just met, but I must confess that this show is dear to my heart. Thanks for Writing places us at the nexus of my two favorite things: texts and art.
The works on the walls (and in one case, the floor) incorporate or gesture towards text as a communicative form. The texts on the shelves reflect on contemporary art as a communicative form. Included are writing about art and writing by artists — sometimes meant as art and sometimes not — as well as writing about writing.
I like making lists, a lucky coincidence considering I now work in arts administration. I wrote the one I’ve copied below about a month ago, bracketing the art objects in this show in various ways. This exercise helped me understand my project, and I thought you might want a look:
• works in which text functions as art
• works in which text offers the viewer information and operates as a linguistic communicator
• works in which the marked absence of text serves as a form of authorship
• works in which text is employed as a labeling device, either in the work or in the title, in order to render the work a sign for a different signifier than might have been possible without said text
• works that reflect on the experiences of reading and writing
• works that mine the relationship between image and word
Surely you might have your own thoughts to add: please do share!
In organizing TFW, I wanted to collapse the distance between the experiences of reading texts about or related to art and viewing artworks. The show’s installation literalizes and plays with the cliché of reading as a metaphor for viewing and interpretation by offering images that must be read and texts to view — not to mention, read.
Indeed, TFW is a critique, an attempt to disrupt the cursory art-viewing habitualized in gallery-going by inviting visitors like you to slow down, sit down and read a book. Go through the shelves and stay as long as you like — I hope the sofa’s comfortable!
I refer you to works on the shelves for more illuminating writing on the works on the walls, and vice versa.
Thanks for reading,