Work Title: Art and Words
Work Author(s): Karen McCarthy
Byline: Karen McCarthy
Art is communicative. With images, the artist conveys ideas, emotions, connection to the viewer. Understood by speakers of any tongue, art transcends language. Some visual artists eschew the purely nonverbal, incorporating words in their artworks---witness Magritte's Ceci n'est pas une pipe, Rodin's Je suis belle, and countless verses brushstroked into Asian landscapes.
Teresa Monachino, inspired by helping her mother understand the twists and turns of English, created Words Fail Me (Phaidon, 978-0-7148-4635-4) a book of artistically juxtaposed wordplays. "Verb is a noun," reads one page; "quite a lot is a large amount ... quite a few is a large amount." Monachino even plays with the titles of her categories: antigrams are anagrams that result in opposites: "violence ... nice love" and "earliest ... rise late"; oxycretins are words that turn antonym with the removal of a single letter (slaughter; friend). The words are laid out in...