Simon Lee Gallery
Jun 22nd 2020 — Jul 19th 2020

Nearly 20 artists—from Cy Twombly and Marcel Broodthaers to Jenny Holzer and Richard Prince—are behind the array of work featured in this online group show, which explores the role of text in visual art.

All created since the late 1960s, these works reveal how language can make meaning—yet simultaneously complicate it. Andrea Bowers, for example, sounds off with the explicitly political—as well as semiotically direct—Educate, Agitate, Organize (2010), in which sculptural wall-hangings delineate each titular word in bold, legible cursive. Taking a starkly different approach is an untitled George Condo painting from 1985 that blurs pictorial representation with linguistic communication as it superimposes the text “Condo 1985” over a landscape: Within the composition, cloud formations mimic the numerals of “1985” while the letters in “Condo” materialize as graphic emblems stacked atop a hill and that otherwise are of arbitrary value to the scene (e.g., as with the single musical note serving as the lower-case “d”).

From Simon Lee: 

While the visual language of an artist’s vernacular is well-trodden ground, WORDS highlights the way in which—from the late 1960s onwards—conceptual art practice delved into notions of authorship, aesthetics and the dematerialisation of the traditional art object, in the pursuit of complicating the relationship between the verbal and the visual.

Andrea Bowers, Educate, Agitate, Organize, 2010. Low voltage LED lights, plexi-glass, aluminium, "Educate": 18 3/4 x 60 3/8 x 5 3/8 inches; "Agitate": 26 1/2 x 66 1/4 x 5 3/8 inches; "Organize": 26 1/2 x 68 x 5 3/8 inches.