Text Message: Words and Letters in Contemporary Craft

January 21 - May 6, 2018

Text Message: Words and Letters in Contemporary Art includes works that use words, letters, and script to convey meaning. Tangible three-dimensional objects made of fiber, clay, polymer, paper, and metal along with two-dimensional works on paper underscore how contemporary artists recognize the power and complexity of the written word. 

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.

Exhibition Notes
Press Room


Shusaku Arakawa, Karen Aumann, Ralph Bacerra, Boris Bally, Harriete Estel Berman, Jerry Berta, Teri Blond, Kate Boyan, Ken Bova, Barbara Brandel, Caroline Broadhead, Kathleen Browne, Robin Campo, Michael Cohen, Warrington Colescott, Robert Cottingham, Leah Danberg, Kathleen Dustin, Jack Earl, Wayne Farra, Elissa Farrow-Savos, Dikko Faust, Lisa Fidler, Stephen Freedman, Michael Frimkess and Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, Gwen Gibson, Teri Greeves, Laurie J. Hall, Walter S. Hamady, Bobby Hansson, Charles Hobson, Jenny Holzer, Jan Hopkins, Tory Hughes, Michael James, Nuala Jamison, Hai-Chi Jihn, Rosita Johanson, Paul Amos Kennedy, Jr., Corita Kent, Ronald King, Anne Kingsbury, Anne Krauss, Alyssa Dee Krauss, Barbara Kruger, Gyöngy Laky, James Lawton, Edna G. Lazaron, Zachary Lechtenberg, Dulany Lingo, Michael Lucero, Paul Mathieu, Scott L. McCarney, John McQueen, Linda Mendelson, Richard Milette, George Joji Miyaski, Matt Nolen, Gugger Petter, Robert Pfeulb, JoAnna Poehlmann, Dalia Ramanauskas, Robert Rauschenberg, Donna Rosenthal, Bird Ross, Joan Schulze, Mark Shapiro, Rebecca Strzelec, Masami Teraoka, Barbara Tentenbaum, Joe Tilson, Loes van Riel, John Wilde, William T. Wiley, Donald Roller Wilson, Paul Wonner


Barbara Brandel
Sampler (Jacket),1995
Dyed cotton, silk, and wool
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Carol and Allen Naille
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine
Boris Bally
Transit Chair, 2003
Found metal traffic signs, champagne corks, and metal fasteners
Racine Art Museum, Gift of the Artist
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine
Elissa Farrow-Savos
the loss of words and meaning, 2015
Polymer, fabric paper, cardboard, and oil paint
Racine Art Museum, Gift of the Artist in
Memory of Her Mother Susan Farrow
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine
Gwen Gibson
Comic Book Bracelet, 1998
Polymer, acrylic paint, and elastic
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Elise Winters and Sherwood Rudin
Photography: Penina Meisels
Donna Rosenthal
My Fair Ladies: The Free Spirit, 2011
Found vintage atlases, found vintage buttons, and steel
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Gregg, Terrie, and Kristen Maki
in Honor of Emily Therese Maki
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine
Jon Wilde
Still Life with the Morning's Mail, 1951
Oil on wood panel
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Karen Johnson Boyd
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine
Shusaku Arakawa
Untitled 1 (Forgotten: the two areas
separated by the yellow stripe)
, 1973
Color lithograph and color serigraph, 35/40
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Karen Johnson Boyd
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine
Text Message: Words and Letters in Contemporary Art is made possible by: Platinum Sponsor - Windgate Charitable Foundation; Diamond Sponsor - Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation; Gold Sponsors - Herzfeld Foundation, Johnson Bank, National Endowment for the Arts, W.T. Walker Group, Inc.; Silver Sponsors - Andis Foundation, Racine Community Foundation, Runzheimer International Ltd., Wisconsin Arts Board; Bronze Sponsors - Burlington Graphic Systems, Inc., CNH Industrial, EC Styberg Foundation, Educators Credit Union, In Sink Erator, The Norbell Foundation, Orkney Springs Retreat, Real Racine, Ruud Family Foundation, United Way of Racine County; Media Sponsor - 88NINE Radio Milwaukee