Looking at Words

The Formal Use of Text in Modern and Contemporary Works on Paper
November 2 – December 31, 2005
Main Gallery
Installation Views
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Press Release

Based on an original idea by Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel
Curated by Andrea Rosen

This exhibition of works on paper traces the history of the presence of the written word in works of art during the last century. Beginning with Cubism, it attempts for as complete and scholarly an exploration of the subject as possible, drawing examples from Dada, Surrealism, Constructivism, and Futurism, and continuing though Fluxus, Concrete Poetry, and other post-war movements (including outsider and graffiti art) to the present day.

The exhibition was inspired by the long-standing interest of Andrea Rosen and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, an eminent New York-based collector of twentieth century works on paper, to curate a show together that would encompass both historical and contemporary works on paper. As a result of their numerous discussions and research, it became apparent that the inclusion of text was an important thread, emerging in the 1900's (and thereby defining our period) and continuing through virtually all of the major movements of the intervening years.

In our extensive research on the subject, we have been surprised to find how few books and exhibitions have been devoted to the subject, considering its significance in art created in the past hundred years. The research that does exist appears to have generally chosen a broad approach, or a narrow time frame. Our focus is on works in which text carries a formal weight in the composition. Text may appear in the form of a single letter, words, or newsprint; as legible text, fragmented, or nonsensical; hand-lettered, scrawled or collaged; but our guideline is to include works in which the visual impact is paramount.

This more specific focus has arisen out of another observation arising from our research; that the tendency of our recent studies has been to assume an intellectual reading of the artwork and of text that appears within it. Upon careful reflection, it appears to us that by considering the context of both the art of the earlier years of the century, and current emerging directions, one appreciates that the formal role of text in the work of art has had at least an equal importance to its function as a medium for concept and meaning. In reality, in some of the great works of art, the formal cannot be separated from the conceptual. The decision to further limit our scope to works on paper is in part due to the genesis of the show, but has an obvious logic in the affinity and associations of paper with the written word.

The guideline that we have set for ourselves is that works should be as much about viewing as reading; therefore titles, captions, speech bubbles, studio notes, narrative and manifestos have been generally excluded. The vast array of works that remain, trace a fascinating study of the history of modern art, exploring artists' responses to a world increasingly saturated with words, and identifying one of the defining characteristics of the art of the period.

List of Artists

Anonymous
Acconci, Vito
Ackermann, Rita
Albenda, Ricci
Alvarez, D-L
Anastasi, William
Apollinaire, Guillaume
Arakawa, Shusaku
Baldessari, John
Balla, Giacomo
Barry, Robert
Basquiat, Jean-Michel
Becker, Julie
Berman, Wallace
Beuys, Joseph
Bevilacqua, Michael
Bickerton, Ashley
Bing, Xu
Blumenfeld, Erwin
Bochner, Mel
Bock, John
Boetti, Alighiero E
Borofsky, Jonathan
Bouabré, Frédéric Bruly
Bourgeois, Louise
Bransford, Jesse
Braque, Georges
Brauner, Victor
Brecht, George
Broodthaers, Marcel
Bryans, Matt
Bryce, Fernando
Burden, Chris
Byars, James Lee
Cage, John
Caivano, Ernesto
Campbell, Beth
Campuzano, Anthony
Cangiullo, Francesco
Cannavacciuolo, Maurizio
Castle, James
Chapman, Jake and Dinos
Chopin, Henri
Chunn, Nancy
Clausen, Franciska
Clemente, Francesco
Condo, George
Cooke, Nigel
Cornell, Joseph
Coutts, Nathan
Crash
Dalí, Salvador
Darboven, Hanne
Darger, Henry
Davies, Peter
Davis, Stuart
Daze
de Zayas, Marius
Degen, Benjamin
Delaunay, Robert
Delaunay, Sonia
Dine, Jim
Dion, Mark
Dogançay, Burhan
Doig, Peter
Dubuffet, Jean
Duchamp, Marcel
Dzama, Marcel
Eisenman, Nicole
Emin, Tracey
Ermilov, Vassily
Ernst, Max
Etheredge, Lee
Fahlström, Öyvind
Fairhurst, Angus
Finlay, Ian Hamilton
Fischer, Urs
Fishman, Louise
Fluxus Collective
Fraenkel, Théodore
Friedman, Tom
Frost, Phil
Galadshev, Piotr St.
Gallagher, Ellen
General Idea
Giacometti, Alberto
Gingold, Madelynn
Gober, Robert
Golub, Leon
Gonzales, Wayne
Grosz, George
Haacke, Hans
Hamilton, Richard
Hammerlein, Chris
Hancock, Trenton Doyle
Hansen, Al
Haring, Keith
Hausmann, Raoul
Heck, Kati
Higgs, Matthew
Hiller, Susan
Hirschhorn, Thomas
Hodges, Jim
Holstad, Christian
Holzer, Jenny
Horn, Roni
Houedard, Dom Sylvester
Hugnet, Georges
Hundley, Elliot
Hutchinson, David
Immendorff, Jörg
Indiana, Robert
James, Gareth
Jensen, Alfred
Jess (Burgess Collins)
Johanson, Chris
Johns, Jasper
Johnson, Ray
Jones, Joe
Kalhammer, Brad
Kelley, Mike
Kesting, Edmund
Kiefer, Anselm
Kilimnik, Karen
Kippenberger, Martin
Kirkeby, Per
Kline, Franz
Knowles, Christopher
Koepcke, Arthur
de Kooning, Willem
Krisanamis, Udomsak
Kruger, Barbara
Kuitca, Guillermo
La Rocca, Ketty
Lady Pink
Dr. Lakra
Landers, Sean
Landy, Michael
Lang, Wes
Laurita, Louis
Le Va, Barry
Lerma, José
levy, d.a.
LeWitt, Sol
Lichtenstein, Roy
Ligon, Glenn
Lombardi, Mark
Lozano, Lee
Mac Low, Jackson
Maciunas, George
Madore, Michael
Magritte, René
Man Ray
Mangelos, Dimitrije Bašičević
Marshall, Kerry James
Mauss, Nick
McCarthy, Paul
McCollum, Allan
McGill, Dominic
McMakin, Roy
Mesens, E.L.T.
Miller, Larry
Moore, Frank
Morris, Robert
Morton, Ree
Motherwell, Robert
Muller, Dave
Murry, J.B.
Nara, Yoshitomo
Nauman, Bruce
Nikifor
Nitsch, Hermann
O'Connor, John J.
Odenbach, Marcel
Oehlen, Albert
Oldenburg, Claes and Coosje van Bruggen
Ono, Yoko
Panamarenko
Parker, Erik
Penck, A.R.
Pernice, Manfred
Person, Leroy
Pettibon, Raymond
Peyton, Elizabeth
Picabia, Francis and Katherine Rhoades
Picasso, Pablo
Pierson, Jack
Piper, Adrian
Pittman, Lari
Ploberger, Herbert
Polke, Sigmar
Pope.L, William
Popova, Liubov
Prieto, Monique
Prince, Richard
Pylypchuk, Jon
Quinn, Justin
Ratoff, Barry
Rauschenberg, Robert
Reynolds, Jock
Ritchie, Matthew
Rivers, Larry
Rodchenko, Aleksandr
Rognoni, Angelo
Rohde, Werner
Rohowsky, Meyers
Rollins, Tim + K.O.S.
Ronay, Matthew
Rondinone, Ugo
Rosen, Kay
Rosenquist, James
Rotella, Mimmo
Roth, Dieter
Royal Art Lodge
Ruppersberg, Allen
Ruscha, Ed
Ryman, Robert
Saffer, Stefan
Saul, Peter
Scheibitz, Thomas
Schnabel, Julian
Schwitters, Kurt
Shaw, Jim
Simmons, Gary
Smith, Jack
Smithson, Robert
Snyder, Joan
Sontheimer, Matthew
Spero, Nancy
Stark, Frances
Steinbach, Haim
Steinberg, Saul
Stoffers, Harald
Stokker, Lily van der
Stuckenberg, Fritz
Sweeney, Spencer
Tàpies, Antoni
Thek, Paul
Thom, Rob
Tiravanija, Rirkrit
Tomaselli, Fred
Tone, Yasunao
Tuttle, Richard
Twombly, Cy
Van Vliet, Don (Captain Beefheart)
Vautier, Ben
de la Villeglé, Jacques Mahé
Vogel, Douglas
Vostell, Wolf
Walker, Kara
Walker, Kelley
Warhol, Andy
Wegman, William
Weiner, Lawrence
West, Franz
Williams, Emmett
Wojnarowicz, David
Wolfli, Adolf
Wood, Beatrice
Wool, Christopher
Wurtz, B.
Zinelli, Carlo