Evolution of Exhibition Titles
A Diachronic Analysis of Exhibition Titles across the Decades
This chapter aims at tracing the lexical and structural evolution of exhibition titles over the last seven decades. Identified as a recursive communicative step within the structure of museum press releases, titles influence the life cycle of exhibitions at a very deep level, sometimes predetermining their success. The analysis shows that they have been gradually distancing from didactic and self-evident formulations, as revealed by the decrease of words like exhibition, retrospective, museum, instead including emotionally loaded terms and reaching an increasing level of abstraction. In structural terms, the two-part formula, comprised of two noun phrases linked by a colon, has been the most used across the decades, but an ongoing trend that has emerged in the current decade is that of very brief titles, relying on two or three words, or even one word alone.
KeywordsNoun Phrase Communicative Step Abstract Noun National Gallery Lexical Word
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