Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Conceptual Art, Really?

What: Conceptual Art

An art form made popular in the mid 1960s through the 1970s in which the underlying concept and process are more important than any tangible product or method of creating the 'product'. The theory is that art exists for its own sake. Known also as Idea Art, it came to widespread public awareness through the 1967 summer issue of "Artforum", in an article by Sol LeWitt. However, artists Henry Flint and Edward Kienholz had written earlier about Conceptual Art, which was a reaction against the impersonality of Minimalism and the commercialism of Pop Art. Described as a "document of the artist's thinking", the word became an all-embracing term for art forms that fit neither the description of painting nor sculpture and included Performance Art, Video Art and Earth Art. Joseph Kosuth in a 1969 essay also wrote what has been described as a "founding text of Conceptualism". (Princenthal). In that writing, he asserted that philosophy was dead and was replaced by art based on thought and material aspects that were disposable.

Conceptual artists include Kosuth, Marina Abramovic, Adrian Piper, John Baldessari, Mel Bochner, James Lee Byars, Dan Graham, On Kawara, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Dennis Oppenheim and Richard Tuttle.

Sources: Robert Atkins, "ArtSpeak"; Nancy Princenthal, 'Reading Between the Lines', "Art in America", March 2005.

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