For Students

Past Exhibitions: 2001

Word and Image: Works from the Permanent Collection

June 16 - August 12, 2001
Works on Paper Gallery


Glenn Ligon
Untitled (detail)
1992
etching, softground, aquatint, spitbite and sugarlift on white Rives BFK paper

Since the evolution of the earliest written languages, words and images/view have been combined in ways that augment, complement, or confute the meanings conveyed through those juxtapositions. Just as images/view were incorporated into illuminated manuscripts in order to heighten the narrative content of religious and romance texts, so the occasional inclusion of words in western painting prior to the Twentieth Century endeavored to reinforce and support the visual meaning of the painting in which they were included. Throughout the last century, however, beginning with Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism, the relationship between text and image has become much more inflected and complex. The last forty years have seen words and images/view combined in ways that challenge the straightforward notion of captioning a visual idea. The infusion of popular culture, politics, and advertising into the visual arts has helped to broaden the visual vocabulary available to artists, including the incorporation of written language.

This exhibition explores the inclusion of written language in graphic work from the 1960s to the present. From the use of corporate logos to collaborations between artists and poets, the use of language in the prints and drawings is highlighted through the work of artists including Edward Ruscha, Andy Warhol, Leslie Dill, and Glenn Ligon.