“Art is a form of language” and “an image is worth a thousand words” are commonly heard notions that suggest there is an intimate relationship between words and images. Visual and written forms of communication can intersect in a myriad of ways in art. In fact, some of the most provocative artworks resulted from the creative exploration of the fluid relationship between words, images, and communication. Written texts can be a source of subject matter or acquire a visual presence of their own through graphic design. The careful combination of words and images can be a powerful tool to effect political change and document historical claims of justice denied. By sometimes reducing art to words, or turning words into art, artists challenge traditional ways of making and circulating art.
La maestra rural [The Rural Teacher], 1932 (detail)
The Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin
Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 1986