Love And Joy About Letters: The Work Of Ben Shahn And Mirella Bentivoglio
Symposium September 20 at Lyman Hall:
3:30 p.m. Frances Pohl, Welcome and Introductory Remarks
3:45 p.m. Matthew Baigell, “Shahn’s Love and Joy About Jewish Letters”
4:30 p.m. Mirella Bentivoglio A Conversation with Frances Pohl
5-7 p.m. Reception
Organized by Professor Frances Pohl, this exhibition highlights a select group of works by two artists whose work focuses on the expressive and poetic qualities of text and letters. Mirella Bentivoglio was a key figure in the Concrete Poetry movement in Italy in the 1960s; its adherents typically used text as the sole formal component of their work. Bentivoglio’s early training as a poet is evident in the subtle ways she manipulates text in order to convey both visual and intellectual complexity. The well-known American artist Ben Shahn (1899-1969), on the other hand, used text most often in conjunction with other images to enhance the message or mood. His early training was as a commercial artist, where the correlation between text and image was a constant concern. Shan designed his own particular font, called the “folk alphabet,” that appears in many of his prints and paintings. He also designed a Hebrew alphabet, which was incorporated into his “chop” (a small stamp traditionally used by Japanese artists to mark their work), which he created in the 1960s. The title of the exhibition comes from a book Shahn published in 1964 entitled Love and Joy About Letters.