Exhibition Catalogues

Reinventing the Emblem: Contemporary Artists Recreate a Renaissance Idea

Edited by Lesley K. Baier
With essays by Allison B. Leader and Richard S. Field

This catalogue of a “museum experiment” presents 16th- and 17th-century emblems (printed images with proverb-like texts) and the contemporary works directly inspired by this tradition. The project emerged from a conversation between Allison Leader and Richard Field about the impact of reproductive techniques on 16th- and 17th-century media. They raised the question of whether the “emblem” would be possible in the modern world with its more complex forms of reproduction, and invited several hundred contemporary artists whose work engaged the relationship between text and image to submit potential answers. Allison B. Leader’s essay looks at the Renaissance form, which addressed love, politics, and religion in ways that capitalized on the newly invented printing press. Richard S. Field reviews the ingenious contemporary updates by such artists as Peter Halley, Lesley Dill, Joseph Kosuth, and Lawrence Weiner.

40 pages / 8 1/2 x 11 inches / 81 black-and-white illustrations / 1995
  • Paperback ISBN 0-89467-069-5
    Price $5; Members $4