We are very pleased to present Art=Text=Art: Works by Contemporary Artists, an exhibition of works on paper created between 1960 and 2011 that incorporate or relate to text in different ways. A rich and dynamic relationship between text and image extends at least as far back as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, Chinese ideograms, and Mayan glyphs. Yet it was the twentieth century that witnessed a veritable explosion in the creative application of text in art: from Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism, to the conceptual movement of the 1960s and 1970s, to the appropriations of the so-called Pictures Generation during the 1970s and 1980s. Art=Text=Art juxtaposes several varying examples of text in art, reflecting some of the major developments in modern and contemporary art and critical theory, as well as in politics, history, and philosophy.
The works in the exhibition have been generously lent by Sally and Wynn Kramarsky, New York collectors recognized for their commitment to the medium of drawing and to artists both well-established and emerging. Over the past few decades, the Kramarskys have built a collection with a strong core aesthetic, forming an extensive overview of canonical abstract, minimal, and conceptual art. Any collection that simultaneously includes Robert Barry’s nearly blank Untitled (ELIMINATE, FORGOTTEN) (1978), Buster Cleveland’s ART FOR UM collaged mail art (1993-1998), and John Waters’s photographic print 35 Days (2003), which features a selection of scrawled diary entries and to-do lists, is a collection that clearly embraces diverse media, forms, styles, and approaches.
Our deepest appreciation is extended to the Kramarskys, not only for the opportunity to present Art=Text=Art at the University of Richmond, but also for their commitment to the success of this project, aided in no small part by their staff, Rachel Nackman, curator, and Michael Randazzo. Michael kindly initiated the discussions with Mr. Kramarsky about the possibility of this project and enabled its fruition with assistance on many fronts. Rachel worked on the exhibition and online catalogue with vigor, efficiency, and creativity. Her extensive knowledge of the collection helped N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University Museums, in determining the theme and choosing works for inclusion. Rachel mined the collection’s archives for relevant materials, assisted with the presentation needs of individual works, and continuously provided Elizabeth with information and insight to shape the exhibition’s content.
Rachel also coordinated and edited the online catalogue, which provides a lasting, interpretive, and interactive record of the exhibition itself and of the individual artworks. We extend our thanks to the many contributors to the catalogue, which includes entries authored by University of Richmond alumni and students; graduate students in art history, art criticism, and arts journalism programs; artists, writers, curators, and critics, all of whom kindly contributed their skills, knowledge, and time to the project. Elizabeth would like to thank Anthony Yanez and contributor Nathan Altice for their thoughtful commentary on her curatorial essay.
At the University of Richmond, our special appreciation goes to Dr. Edward L. Ayers, President; Dr. Stephen Allred, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs; and Dr. Kathleen Roberts Skerrett, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, for their continuing guidance and support of the University Museums, comprising the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, the Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, and the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature. The exhibition and programming are made possible in part with the generous support of the University’s Cultural Affairs Committee and funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund. As always, we give our thanks to the staff of the University Museums.
University of Richmond Museums, Virginia