Conceptual Art

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Seema Vittal Serigara – z3329377
Mapping the Post Modern – SAHT1102
Essay Question 2: - Using Examples, discuss why and how Conceptual artists set out to destroy or undermine the value of physical pleasure in art’s making and reception.

Conceptual Art maybe defined as a concept or art movement that came about the 1960’s as a reaction towards formalism. Where in art theory, formalism is a concept where an artwork or piece’s entire artistic value is based purely on its form and visual aspects. For example, American essayist/art critic, Clement Greenberg suggested the notion that art should examine its own nature and was already a potent aspect of vision of Modern art during the 1950’s. However with the mergence of conceptual artists such as Joseph Kossuth, Lawrence Weiner and many more, a far more radical interrogation of art than was previously done began. One of the first and most important things they questioned was the common assumption that the role of the artist was to create special kinds of material objects (Osborne 2002, 232). This essay will discuss as to why and how did Conceptual artists disagreed with the statement of formalism and set out to destroy or undermine the value of physical pleasure in art’s making and reception. Marcel Duchamp, a French artist, paved the way for conceptualists even before the actual movement ever started in the 1900’s. His most famous work the Fountain (1917) of a urinal basin was part of his work readymades and was submitted in annual, un-juried exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in New York, however it was rejected (Conceptual Art 1998, 28). In traditional art history, a commonplace object such as a urinal cannot be said to be art because it is not made by an artist or with any intention of being art, nor is it unique or hand-crafted. Joseph Kossuth disagreed and in his 1969 essay named ‘Art after Philosophy’ wrote that “All art (after Duchamp) is conceptual (in nature) because art only exists...
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