Years ago, at least two decades, there wasn't an argument over whether or not to teach cursive in schools. They just taught it and kids just learned it. And while there weren't any smart phones at the time, there were certainly Tamagotchis and TalkBoys and other toys that foretold of the digital age's coming. Around the same time we were playing Oregon Trail on mammoth Macs and checking library books out using the catalogue system.
Even longer ago, people used typewriters and ever longer ago than that, they just plain wrote in cursive.
Writing Lessons, a new exhibit at Butter Projects, will explore a 1918 textbook entitled Manual of Fundamentals in the Teaching of Handwriting in the Public Schools, a volume by Tom Sawyier. The book explains via descriptions like "Around-up-down-up; around down; roll-pull; 1-2" how to write in cursive. It seems a curious thing to describe in words.
The people behind Grizzly Grizzly, a Philadelphia-based curatorial collective thought so too. So they rounded up some artists and had them create works that reflect upon the text and its curious nature. Thus was born Writing Lessons.
The exhibit will feature works by Ruth Scott Blackson, Casey Droege, Talia Greene, Michael Konrad, Cindy Stockton Moore, Mary Smull, Mike Richison, Christopher Powell, Josh Weiss, and Margo Wolowiec.
An opening reception will be held at Butter Projects at 814 West 11 Mile in Royal Oak on Friday, Oct. 3 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.