RACINE — “Text Message: Words and Letters in Contemporary Art” will be on exhibit through May 6 at the Racine Art Museum, 441 Main St.
The exhibit includes works that use language and script to convey meaning. Contemporary artists, recognizing the power and complexity of the written word, utilize text — individual letters or words — to explore theoretical, social, symbolic and aesthetic concerns.
While the title of the exhibition plays on the popular digital form of communication, the pieces gathered here are tangible three-dimensional objects made of fiber, ceramic, polymer, paper and metal as well as two-dimensional works on paper. All works featured are drawn from RAM’s collection. Letters and script are used as design and pattern elements as well as conveyors of meaning. Examples include teapots decorated with narrative scenes overlaid with accompanying text, contemporary prints that highlight letters from urban signage, and baskets accented with or formed by words and script.
The exhibit also offers the opportunity to look at the relationship between the past and present through artist-designed posters from the 1920s. These “work incentive” posters published by Mathers Co. detail interpersonal rules for workplace behavior. They combine striking colorful imagery with moralizing text, and offer a perspective on the past that resonates with contemporary concerns.
The Racine Art Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7, and $5 for youth ages 12-18, full-time students and seniors age 62 and older. There is no charge for ages 11 and younger.