Roller Coaster

Christine Alfery

Posted on March 15 2022

Roller Coaster

Featured image: Roller Coaster


If you look at my work closely you will see that I put words in the work. The word, “Weeeeeee,” refers to folks screaming on the roller coaster. I have asked myself many times whether words are an art form or not. I can remember taking a calligraphy class in undergrad school and we were told to make the word look like what it was saying, like my word, “weeee” that goes along with the roller coaster ride. The simple fact that it was a requirement to take the calligraphy class as an art major gave works some credibility in the art world.

Words, like a ton of other things in the art world that are called art, aren’t really “art” in my opinion. Why? Because anyone can learn now to write letters. It is when the letters become personal, and unique, but not even then, do they get an approval from me that they are art. This includes my, “weeeee” in my work, "Roller Coaster."

I am always asking myself when I see a word or words in what someone is calling a work of art, "Why did they need to put the words there?" Sometimes the words tell a whole story. So, why have any images if you have all text? And is all text a work of art?

I am a conceptual artist who will debate whether words belong in art or not.  Who is calling words art? When you see words in something that is framed to look like a work of art, words like love, home or blessings, do you ask yourself why the words are there? Valentines are a good example. Create a heart, put the words love in the middle of it and someone will buy it. Words are popular and strike a note for a possible buyer – BUT they are kitsch. 

I am continually asking the question, "What is art?" Art is hard to define and many have tried. The postmodern artists of today think that they have the answer.

When you see a work, that is being called art, hanging on a wall, or as a 3 dimensional sculpture like the below example by contemporary, popular artist Britto has done.

Is this art?

This isn’t the first time I have asked this question and nor will it be the last. In order for me to give some credibility to my position, that for the most part, words are not art forms I will work with art theorists who have taken positions as to what art is and isn’t and have tried to justify their positions in the next several posts. 


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