The Word Is Art by Michael Petry

I am delighted that my HASHTAG Series [2012-16] of text based work has been recognised and selected to feature in a new book The Word Is Art by Michael Petry.
As some of you may know, the poster featured in the book is from the SAVE HACKNEY WICK’S ARTISTS campaign I did in Hackney Wick in 2016 to coincide with the Hackney Wicked Open Studios.
You can read about the campaign here! And about the book, below.
Many thanks to Mikey Dredd for his photographic contribution published in the book.

The Word is Art
Michael Petry
Thames & Hudson
11 October 2018 £39.95 hardback
Extent: 288pp Size: 27.5 x 23.0cm
ISBN: 978 0 500 239667 250 illustrations

A fascinating global overview of how contemporary artists incorporate text and
language into work that speaks to some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century.
There has been much scaremongering about the ‘death of the book’ and how, as words find new ways
and means of transmission, people might gradually begin to shun writing. In the digital age, text
becomes information, and information strives to become free. But what value can text hold in the
sphere of visual art? How is such text different to poetry? Can the poetic itself be visual art, or is text in
this context consigned to the realms of gimmick and catchphrase?

Looking at the work of a broad range of artists including Annette Messager, Barbara Kruger,
Cerith Wyn Evans, Christian Marclay, Christopher Wool, Chun Kwang Young, eL Seed,
Fiona Banner, Ghada Amer, Glenn Ligon, Harland Miller, Jenny Holzer, Laure Prouvost,
Martin Creed, Rachel Whiteread, Raymond Pettibon, Roni Horn, Tania Bruguera, Zhang
Huan, and many more, The Word is Art examines each of these questions, contending above all that in
the digital and online age, words have become more important than ever. With the advent of texting
and social media, many predicted the debasement of language, and some have pointed to evidence of
this in our ‘post-truth’ culture. Michael Petry demonstrates that, on the contrary, words remain
critical, powerful and central to art practice.

Digital communication has seen the word as text permeate life in ways that the poets and artists of
yesterday could never have imagined. Presenting a brief history of word- and book-based art, and
examining major area where the word has dominated artistic practice – Installed Words,
Three-Dimensional Words, Light, New Media, The Conceptual Word, Social Comment,
The Drawn Word, Book – The Word is Art takes us on a fascinating and richly illustrated global tour
of diverse contemporary art forms.

Michael Petry is an artist, author and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA),
London. The Trouble with Michael, a monograph of his practice, was published in 2001, and his 2012 one man
show, ‘The Touch of the Oracle’ at the Palm Springs Art Museum, was accompanied by a ten-year
career retrospective publication. Petry was the first artist-in-residence at Sir John Soane’s Museum. He
has written a number of books, including Installation Art, The Art of Not Making: the new artist /artisan
relationship, and Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists Reinvigorate the Still-Life Tradition, all published by
Thames & Hudson.

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