May 6—August 27, 2012
Museum of Modern Art
Special Exhibitions Gallery, third floor
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language is a group exhibition that brings together 12 contemporary artists and artists' groups working in all mediums including painting, sculpture, film, video, audio, and design, all of whom concentrate on the material qualities of language—visual, aural, and beyond. The work that these artists create belongs to a distinguished history of poem/objects, and concrete language experiments that dates to the beginnings of modernism, and includes both the Dada and Futurist moments as well as the recrudescence of Neo-Dada in the late 1950s, and international literary movements like concrete and sound poetry in Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Like visual artists who experimented with abstract forms with the goal of arriving at a non-metaphoric artwork that was itself and nothing else, artists working with words in the late 1950s and 1960s used language as a medium; letters, words, and texts were dissected, displayed as objects, or arranged so that form and content were combined.