In the public sphere, what makes writing art?
People have been putting words on walls for centuries. Out in the public arena, words, whether printed on posters or painted directly on the surfaces of buildings, are a vehicle for transmitting messages, often social or political in nature, to a particular group or the community at large. In both Jenny Holzer’s For the Guggenheim and Faro’s name tag, we can literally see the writing on the wall. But can we see the art?
Questions to Consider
- Each of these works identifies its artist somehow. How does it do that? What is the significance of the artist’s identity in each case?
- Jenny Holzer’s work was projected onto the Guggenheim Museum on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Faro’s was painted on a non-descript wall in Chelsea, another neighborhood in New York City. What is the relevance of location in each of these cases? How does it impact the the way you understand each work?
- What makes one of these works legal and the other illegal? Do you think that both should be categorized as art?
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