New York

“Artists’ Use Of Language”

Franklin Furnace

Is there anything noteworthy about artists’ use of language in their work? We expect it to be different from our everyday use of language, but is it different from—to propose the antipodes—that of Stéphane Mallarmé or Nikolai Lenin? Well, let’s say it’s a little bit like both, but not the way you’d expect: as exemplified here, it involves the manipulation of truisms to the esoteric end of consciousness-raising—a transformation of belief, a revolution in attitude. None of these works—from the epistemological mumbo jumbo of Joseph Kosuth to Anthony lannacci’s high school yearbook, from Jenny Holzer’s manic self-contradictions to Barbara Kruger’s manipulations of the self-evident—provide information that is not available elsewhere. None of them demystify what hasn’t already been debunked and exposed. We are given what we already know, in capsulated yet socially assimilable form—over-the-counter,

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