Conceptual Art

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Conceptual Art – Essay

”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 if the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” (Sol LeWitt, Artforum 1967, Paragraphs on Conceptual Art.)

Conceptual art is a form of art where the idea is the most important aspect and the product or work of art, if there is any at all, takes a backseat. This art movement was most prominent from 1965-75. Throughout this essay I will be discussing how conceptual art was developed and then I will be focusing on the practises of contemporary conceptual artists Sol LeWitt.

Conceptual art was a positive reaction to the work of Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp, a French artist, was one of the first artists we now call conceptualists. His most famous art piece was a pre-made urinal he named Fountain (1917) and was signed by the clever pseudonym “R.Mutt” which was derived from the Mott plumbing company’s name and a popular comic at the time. Duchamp submitted his piece in an exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in New York but it was rejected because he did not make the piece. Duchamp’s practises at the time included collecting aesthetically neutral objects that we use every day, which he would sometimes modify, or combined two objects together. He wanted people to see these objects in a new light; he wanted to make people see that it didn’t matter whether he made the object and that the most important thing was that he chose that object for a reason. (Gardner) “I wanted to put art once again in the service of the mind.” This quote from Duchamp sums up his ideas on art quite well. (Blonde)

During the 1960’s conceptual art really began to become a movement in it’s own right. One of the things conceptual art was reacting against was the New York School, which was an art school that was focused on...
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