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The Word is Art
— —
Michael Petry
The Word is Art by Michael Petry at Abbey's Bookshop,

The Word is Art

Michael Petry


Thames & Hudson Ltd

Art & design styles: from c 1960;
Art & design styles: Conceptual art;
Electronic, holographic & video art;
Popular culture


288 pages

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There has been much scaremongering about the `death of the book', and how, as words find new ways and means of transmission, young people might gradually begin to shun writing. In the digital age, text becomes information, and information strives to become free. But what value can text hold in the sphere of visual art? How is such text different from poetry? Can the poetic itself be visual art, or is text in this context consigned to the realms of gimmick and catchphrase?

Looking at the work of a broad range of artists including Bruce Nauman, Julien Breton, Jeremy Deller, Takashi Murakami, Tracey Emin, Christian Boltanski and many more, The Word is Art examines each of these questions, contending above all that in the digital and online age, words have become more important than ever. With the advent of texting and social media, many predicted the debasement of language, and some have pointed to evidence of this in our so-called `post-truth' culture. Artist Michael Petry demonstrates that, on the contrary, words remain critical, powerful and central to art practice.

Digital communication has seen the word as text permeate life in ways that the poets and artists of yesterday could never have imagined. Presenting a brief history of word- and book-based art, and examining major areas where the word has dominated artistic practice, this book takes us on a fascinating and richly illustrated global tour of diverse contemporary art forms.

By:   Michael Petry
Imprint:   Thames & Hudson Ltd
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 275mm,  Width: 230mm, 
Weight:   1.730kg
ISBN:   9780500239667
ISBN 10:   0500239665
Pages:   288
Publication Date:   October 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Introduction * 1. Installed Words * 2. Three-Dimensional Words * 3. Light * 4. New Media * 5. The Conceptual Word * 6. Social Comment * 7. The Drawn Word * 8. Books * Further Reading

Michael Petry is an artist, author and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), London. Petry's recent solo shows were at the Holburne Museum, Bath and Pallant House, Chichester. His latest book is The WORD is Art: text and the written word in contemporary art. 'Author Portrait by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders'

'Petry's book paints a redeeming picture of language, underlining how artists continue to inspire us with their radical and creative use of words' - Dazed 'Fascinating' - FAD

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