Best Show Combining Thinking and Seeing (2014)

Joel Swanson: Left to Right, Top to Bottom

Ever since Marcel Duchamp inverted a urinal a century ago and called it a fountain, artists have been exploring conceptualism — art about ideas. This has been especially true in the past thirty years or so. But, truth be told, most conceptual art puts the idea front and center, so that the art becomes an afterthought. That didn't happen in Joel Swanson: Left to Right, Top to Bottom. The show's title refers to how we read in English, and the works were all about the written language, including the spaces between words. Everything was employed to illustrate Swanson's thoughts on language, but despite all these intellectual referents, the show was chaste, minimal and elegant.


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