“The Word is Art”, by Michael Petry, Thames & Hudson USA, 2018

“The Word is Art” is an overview of how contemporary artists incorporate text and language into work that speaks to the most pressing issues of the 21st century. Author is Michael Petry, Curator and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) London.

Text from the book: “The American artist Bill Claps uses a variety of signs and symbols to introduce code into his language-based works. Many incorporate Morse code, while for his Alphabet Project (2015) he created his own verbal and visual language, the characters of which are combinations of Arabic, Hebrew, and Chinese. He employs this invented Alphabet to transcribe art criticism.

Claps took the notion of art being a coded language further in this Artspeak Incinerator project, which was commissioned for THE (un)SCENE Art Show in New York in 2015. He gathered “artspeak’ found on Twitter, translated these sound-bite clichés into Morse Code, then projected the code onto the facades of art institutions across the city. Claps explains that the ‘artspeak’ was ‘digitally incinerated’ so that it could be released ‘into the atmosphere in a purified state’.

Participating institutions included the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum (above), the Whitney Museum of American Art and commercial galleries.

Claps’s sharp dissection of a certain way of speaking about art, used by both the art-world establishment and the market (which aims to present an authoritative voice) is often humorous, crushing, and visually arresting.

MEET THE ARTIST,, April 10, 2019

Collect Bill Claps' Glistening Gold Artworks that Pay Homage to Art Historical Icons

Bill Claps on the rooftop of his studio. Image courtesy of the artist.

Bill Claps on the rooftop of his studio. Image courtesy of the artist.

The artist Bill Claps

The artist Bill Claps

“Me Incanta Cuba”, by Bill Claps, Exibart Magazine, Edition 95, June 2016


“Enduring Conundrum” iBook, iTunes Store, June 2014

"Enduring Conundrum" iBook available on the iTunes store

“Enduring Conundrum” is a catalogue of works by New York artist Bill Claps from his two new most recent series: “Artspeak” and “« It’s all Derivative” ».  The catalogue is published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name at Evartspace Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland April 30 to June 4, 2014, curated by Flamina Scauso.

The catalogue includes images of mixed media works that are executed by combining a number of artistic mediums, including video, photography, painting, drawing and printmaking.  The artworks in the "Artspeak" series explains investigate the use of language in contemporary art journalism and critique, analyzing the reaction of people in front of ordinary people when confronted with this language, revealing how they respond to contemporary art.  The works in the series “It’s All Derivative” comment on the practice of appropriation and iconic veneration in the world of art, combining borrowed imagery from the past with the visual language of Morse Code.

The video installation from the exhibition, "Enduring Conundrum", included in the iBook, captures individuals from all walks of life repeating phrases taken from press releases of art exhibitions, while gilded mixed media works produced by the artist translate these phrases into Morse code. The Essay section of the iBook includes texts by art critics, curators, art historians, and journalists commenting on the role and the evolution of Artspeak.  Curator Flaminia Scauso: “Images, icons and codes inhabit Claps’ studio, where art becomes a kind of blueprint.  Each time he creates a work, Claps produces a metalinguistic message and each encoded element of the message collaborates to define the code itself.  Claps interprets his role as a collective translator and asks himself: “Is it all derivative?” And if so why do we still talk about it?”

An American in Rome"          Exibart Edition #84, March 2014