Upper case, lower case

3 07 2013

Exhibition titles: they’re interesting creatures.

I’ve not been in many exhibitions, but most of them have had titles with exuberant capitalisation. Take for example: ‘Out of the Basement‘ or ‘For the Love of Coffee‘. Equally, there have been some with none or with few: ‘re:production‘ and ‘Lend me your ears‘ (though in some of my posts I’ve used extra capitals).

The most common pattern is the capitalisation of almost all words (usually ‘of’ ‘in’ ‘the’ etc are not capitalised). This seems to be the conventional approach for book and movie titles too (see my footnote).

Even though I question the convention, when I was putting together a proposal for a reunion exhibition I titled it ‘Out of the Basement: A Reunion‘ … so I conformed to the norm.

A great place to look for examples is the Gallery Funaki exhibition page: there are many titles without capitals at all (my preference), some as above and a few in all-caps. Also hover over the ‘Events’ on the Pieces of Eight site: all titles look to follow the convention.  And the Past Exhibitions page for Craft also shows a smattering of each kind, though the common approach outweighs others.

Are there rules for such things? I doubt it, I think it’s subject to the whim of the curator and/or maker(s). And I say hoorah for whims!

After writing the above musing, I actually did some interwebs searching (regular readers will know I like to write my ideas and then look for other sources and ideas).

When searching for “convention for naming books” I found myself on Wiki:
In general, each word in English titles of books, films, and other works takes an initial capital, except for articles (“a”, “an”, “the”), the word “to” as part of an infinitive, prepositions and coordinating conjunctions shorter than five letters (e.g., “on”, “from”, “and”, “with”), unless they begin or end a title or subtitle.“;
Book titles, like names of other works, are proper nouns and thus “lowercase second and subsequent words” does not apply to them.”

Does anyone know how such rules came about?
The preference of book publishers / editors / newspapers / universities … ?

I hope that, should I ever make a solo exhibition, I’ll give it a title without capitals.



2 responses

10 07 2013
david Neale

Emily Dickinson would capitalise Important Words in the middle of a verse. Which I Love.

Maybe go back to Rome for a history of caps?
Write us a report

16 07 2013

as per my favourite source of interwebs learnings, Wiki tells all

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