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280 × 210 × 28 mm
416 pages
385 illustrations, 324 in colour
01 Sep 2011

Art, Word and Image 2,000 Years of Visual/Textual Interaction David Lomas, Michael Corris, John Dixon Hunt

This book is the first attempt to chart the history of art and its interaction with written language. Art, Word and Image examines the use of words (or language) in many genres of art – most often painting, but including prints, the book as art, sculpture, installation, and performance. This book asks what does it mean when a painting is ‘invaded’ by language? How do the two forms converse and combine, and what messages are intended for the viewer? In addition, other important themes that are also addressed include the naming or titling of paintings, the uses of narrative in art, and the literary connections and aspirations of artists.

Art, Word and Image is constructed around three wide-ranging essays by John Dixon Hunt, David Lomas and Michael Corris. These essays discuss the use and significance of words in art – from Classical Greece and Assyria, through to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, to modern times and today's digital media, where the words and image question has become a central issue. The essays cover a variety of movements (Pre-Raphaelites, Cubists, Surrealists, and Lettrists, for example) and many artists, among them Duchamp, Picasso, Ernst, Twombly, Michaux, Warhol and Kruger. The book also includes ‘spotlight’ essays on artists whose work engages substantially with questions of word and image: Blake, Klee, Schwitters, Haack, Pettibon, McCahon and Walla.

This ground-breaking book will form a new framework for thinking about the interactions between word and image in the visual arts.

With contributions by Jeremy Adler, Stephen Barber, Rex Butler and Laurence Simmons, Michael Corris, John Dixon Hunt, Michael R. Leaman, David Lomas, Joseph Viscomi, Hamza Walker, Barbara Weyandt and Michael White.

‘Although commonsense seems to dictate that visual art is predominantly a visual phenomenon, when examined closely, as this book does, there are few areas not touched in some way by the use of words (or language) . . . [a] comprehensive survey . . . With its many colour illustrations and references for further study the book will be of particular interest to anybody working with words or language in their art.’ — Arlis

‘this is an attractive and thought-provoking publication. Especially noteworthy is the treatment of the works of outsider artists, such as August Walla, which may well pave the way for further thematic examinations of contemporary art . . . those with an interest in twentieth-century art will find several of the seven essays a fascinating exploration of how artists in the modern world have employed text in their work.’ — Cassone

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David Lomas is Professor of Art History at the University of Manchester and the author of The Haunted Self: Surrealism, Psychoanalysis, Subjectivity (2000) and, with Michael Corris and John Dixon Hunt, Art, Word and Image: 2,000 Years of Visual/Textual Interaction (Reaktion, 2010).

Michael Corris is Professor of Art and Chair of the Division of Art at SMU, Dallas, Texas. He was a member of the Conceptual art group ‘Art & Language’ in New York in the 1970s, and is editor of Conceptual Art: Theory, Myth, and Practice (2003), and author (with David Diao) of David Diao: Works 1969-2005 (2006). As well as Ad Reinhardt (Reaktion, 2008).

John Dixon Hunt is Emeritus Professor of the History and Theory of Landscape at the University of Pennsylvania. His previous books include The Wider Sea: A Life of John Ruskin (1992) and The Making of Place (Reaktion, 2015).

Preface by Michael R. Leaman
Introduction by John Dixon Hunt

I  The Fabric and the Dance: Word and Image to 1900
         John Dixon Hunt

  1  Blake's Illuminated Word
          Joseph Viscomi

II  'New in art, they are already soaked in humanity:' Word and Image 1900-1945
          David Lomas

  2 Paul Klee as 'Poet-Painter' 
          Jeremy Adler

  3 Sense and Nonsense in Kurt Schwitters
          Michael White

III  Word and Image in Art since 1945
           Michael Corris

4  August Walla: Devil/God, Image/Text
           Stephen Barber

5  'The Sound of Painting:' Colin McCahon
           Rex Butler and Laurence Simmons

6  Revelation in Image and Word: The Apocalypse according to Horst Haack
           Barbara Weyandt

7  Raymond Pettibon: Words and Images
           Hamza Walker

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Photo Acknowledgements