Direct Message: Art, Language, and Power
Direct Message: Art, Language, and Power looks at the ways artists since the 1960s have used words to challenge our ideas about all of the messages we read, write, hear, and speak daily. The exhibition has four sections of works that redefine how we understand communication: “Remove” explores what is communicated when words disappear; “Review” looks at the transformation of historic materials and how looking back can point us forward; “Reframe” focuses on advertising and what it reveals about the public space; and “Recode” shows how rearranging language and its symbols can uncover hidden truths. Highlights of Direct Message: Art, Language, and Power include Jenny Holzer’s immersive installation For Chicago that fills the gallery with common phrases rendered in LED lights in her signature style, as well as Stan Douglas’s Evening, in which the artist pulls clips from archival news footage and hires actors to play newscasters to recreate the events of two days in 1969 and 1970. With artists that remix conventional modes of communication, Direct Message: Art, Language, and Power challenges our standards of language and, by extension, their power.