This systematic study explores the way in which words have encroached on the visual arts from the late 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century. Simon Morley identifies the key ways in which artists and movements of the modern and contemporary era used words - sometimes to compete with images, sometimes to supplant them, often to engender new kinds of relationship or new forms, or to break down old distinctions so that the seen and the said were no longer quite so different. The book is chronologically arranged, beginning with Cubist collages and going on to deal with Dada nonsense words, Surrealist painting-poems, Constructivist typographies, oriental calligraphy and post-war gestural painting, Pop's celebration of the brand name, the wholesale transformation of art modelled on nature into art modelled on the city's forest of manmade signs, feminist challenges to the dominance of a male-centred language, the inscription in art of voices from outside the Western mainstream, and digital hypertext.
The alphabet bomber - words and pictures; grand bazaar universal - Impressionist words; merahi metua no teha'amana - Symbolist words; au bon marche - Cubist words; parole-in-liberta - Futurist words; L.H.O.O.Q. - Dada words; futura - Constructivist words; l'alphabet des reves - Surrealist words; Guernica - words and power; writing degree zero - post-war words; intermedia - neo-Dada words; Coca-Cola - Pop words; art-as-idea-as-idea - conceptual words I; a heap of words - conceptual words II; the prison-house of language - postmodern words; Creolization - fin-de-siecle words; hypertext - future words.