The use of written language has been one of the most defining developments in visual art of the twentieth century. Art and Text is a unique and timely survey of this most contemporary and relevant artistic tool.
The use of text can be seen in some of the most avant-garde artwork of the twentieth century; René Magritte and dadaist artists used it to describe anti-art and anti-aesthetic sentiment. The work of some of the most famous conceptual artists of the 1960s began to use written language as an artwork in itself. Artists such as John Baldessari, Lawrence Weiner and Bruce Nauman, who are still today some of the world’s most respected artists, helped push the boundaries of what constitutes art at the time and it has continued to develop since that period. The expansive Art & Language group of artists and theorists, including Joseph Kosuth, also reconsidered the possibilities of ‘linguistic art.’
Contemporary artists continue to use this medium and expand its possibilities, which range from being a most direct and immediate means of artistic expression (Tracey Emin, Cy Twombly), to an effective socio-political artistic mechanism (BANK, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer).