Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Conceptual art, sometimes called idea art, is art in which the ideas embodied by a piece are more central to the work than the means used to create it. It was described by the artist Sol LeWitt like so:
- In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.
Conceptual art as a movement emerged during the mid-1960s, in part as a reaction against formalism as it was then articulated by the influential New York art critic Clement Greenberg. However, the work of the French artist Marcel Duchamp from the 1910s and 1920s paved the way for the conceptualists, providing them with examples of prototypically conceptual works (the readymades, for instance) that defied categorisation and could not be said to be art by virtue of their specific visual properties alone.
Conceptual art often makes use of materials such as photographs, maps, and written texts. It is sometimes (as in the work of Sol Lewitt, Yoko Ono, and Lawrence Weiner) reduced to a set of written instructions describing a work, but stopping short of actually making it--emphasising that the idea is more important than the artifact. Some conceptual artists were also attempting to avoid the commodification of art, by refusing to produce luxury objects of the type traditionally housed in museums.
The conceptual art movement extended from approximately 1967 through 1978. It has proven very influential on subsequent artists, and well known contemporary artists such as Mike Kelley or Tracy Emin are sometimes labeled "second- or third-generation" conceptualists, or "post-conceptual" artists.
Notable conceptual artists
- Art & Language
- Michael Asher
- Robert Barry
- Mel Bochner
- Ian Burn
- Hanne Darboven
- Henry Flynt
- Dan Graham
- Hans Haacke
- Douglas Huebler
- On Kawara
- Joseph Kosuth
- Sol LeWitt
- Yoko Ono
- Adrian Piper
- Lawrence Weiner
- Sol LeWitt, "Paragraphs on Conceptual Art"
- Conceptualism: For more info. site also includes a full list of Conceptual and Post-Conceptual artists
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