Do I Have to Draw You a Picture? New show with all-star lineup on the topic of communication

Mel Bochner, Do I Have to Draw You a Picture? 2013. © Mel Bochner, 2018

"Communication, the breakdown of communication, and isolation" are the core themes of Do I Have to Draw You a Picture?, a new show at Heong Gallery in Cambridge. Among the very-starry-indeed lineup for the show are Ed Ruscha, Grayson Perry, Jenny Holzer, Jasper Johns, Louise Bourgeois and so many more; while featured works come in the guises of contemporary American and British prints from the British Museum, and works from private lenders, including prints, postcards, books, diagrammatic drawing, sign painting, tape recording, neon, LED, enamel plaques, bunting and campaign posters.

The central idea is based around the notion that since electronic media has become (for most) the primary mode of communication, artists are "no longer required for the transmission of objective content," says the gallery. As such, the artists and works featured in this show all examine communication, and the media through which we communicate – its limitations and the role of art in speaking to one another across psychological, cultural, or geographical distances.

Some of the works are more obvious in these explorations than others. Bob and Roberta Smith’s open Letter to Michael Gove (2015) and Wolfgang Tillmans' pro-EU posters (2016) are direct epistolary missives; while He disappeared into complete silence (1947-2005) by Louise Bourgeois shows how communication is frequently born of far more intimate origins – the works are all "parables of personal relationships", as the gallery puts it.

Whatever the medium or the message, what the show does prove is that art is still as much a potent, transcendent tool for communication as ever – internet or no, these works speak loud and clear.

Do I Have to Draw You a Picture? runs from 16 June-7 October 2018 at The Heong Gallery, Cambridge. Find out more at dow.cam.ac.uk.

Wolfgang Tillmans Pro-EU anti-Brexit Poster Campaign (Vote Remain 23 June), 2016 Two-colour copy posters, dimensions variable. © Wolfgang Tillmans. Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Köln, Maureen Paley, London, David Zwirner, New York.

Wolfgang Tillmans Pro-EU anti-Brexit Poster Campaign (Vote Remain 23 June), 2016 Two-colour copy posters, dimensions variable. © Wolfgang Tillmans. Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Köln, Maureen Paley, London, David Zwirner, New York.

Jenny Holzer Hands-on socialization promotes…from Living (1980 – 1982), 1981 Hand-painted enamel on metal sign: black on white, 53.3 × 58.4 cm. © Jenny Holzer. Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers

Jenny Holzer Hands-on socialization promotes…from Living (1980 – 1982), 1981 Hand-painted enamel on metal sign: black on white, 53.3 × 58.4 cm. © Jenny Holzer. Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers

Jasper Johns Target with Four Faces, 1968 Silkscreen print on paper, 91.6 × 66.7 cm. © Jasper Johns/DACS, London/VAGA, NY 2018. Collection: The Provost and Scholars of King’s College, Cambridge

Jasper Johns Target with Four Faces, 1968 Silkscreen print on paper, 91.6 × 66.7 cm. © Jasper Johns/DACS, London/VAGA, NY 2018. Collection: The Provost and Scholars of King’s College, Cambridge

Kay Rosen She-Man, 1996 – 2018 Sign paint on wall, dimensions variable. © Kay Rosen. Courtesy the artist and Philipp Pflug Contemporary

Kay Rosen She-Man, 1996 – 2018 Sign paint on wall, dimensions variable. © Kay Rosen. Courtesy the artist and Philipp Pflug Contemporary

Louise Bourgeois He Disappeared Into Complete Silence, 1947 – 2005 (Detail) Suite of 11 engravings with aquatint and hand colouring accompanied by letterpress text, Plates 1 – 9: 25.4 × 35.6 cm, Alternative and Spider plates: 25.4 × 17.1 cm. © Easton Foundation/DACS, London/VAGA, NY 2018. Collection: The Easton Foundation.

Louise Bourgeois He Disappeared Into Complete Silence, 1947 – 2005 (Detail) Suite of 11 engravings with aquatint and hand colouring accompanied by letterpress text, Plates 1 – 9: 25.4 × 35.6 cm, Alternative and Spider plates: 25.4 × 17.1 cm. © Easton Foundation/DACS, London/VAGA, NY 2018. Collection: The Easton Foundation.

Glenn Ligon Warm Broad Glow, 2005 Neon and paint, 10.2 × 121.9 cm. © Glenn Ligon. Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Thomas Dane Gallery, London.

Glenn Ligon Warm Broad Glow, 2005 Neon and paint, 10.2 × 121.9 cm. © Glenn Ligon. Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Thomas Dane Gallery, London.

Eduardo PaolozziEnigma, Plate 3 from The Alan Turing Suite, 2003 Colour screenprint and photo-stencil with text, 72.5 × 54 cm. © Trustees of the Paolozzi Foundation, Licensed by DACS 2018. Collection: Kip Gresham.

Eduardo PaolozziEnigma, Plate 3 from The Alan Turing Suite, 2003 Colour screenprint and photo-stencil with text, 72.5 × 54 cm. © Trustees of the Paolozzi Foundation, Licensed by DACS 2018. Collection: Kip Gresham.