Conceptual Art

Topics: Conceptual art, Art, Visual arts Pages: 16 (5872 words) Published: November 22, 2011
"Conceptual Art" is a contemporary form of artistic representation, in which a specific concept or idea, often personal, complex and inclusive, takes shape in an abstract, nonconforming manner, based upon a negation of aesthetic principles. Conceptual art is art in which the concepts or ideas involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. Many of the works, sometimes called installations, of the artist Sol LeWitt may be constructed by anyone simply by following a set of written instructions. This method was fundamental to LeWitt's definition of Conceptual art, one of the first to appear in print. 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 is different from "Concept" as the content of art, but can be considered an abstract form of the idea and perception of the artwork originating in the artist's mind, which is later displayed in a proposed structure, and a variety of forms. Hence a conceptual work of art, in view of its general purpose and the relative aspects of its components, has unalterable qualities; and consequently, for the artists of this movement, definitions of art and artwork, and their relation to humanity, the environment and aesthetics are in process of re-evaluation, from a standpoint apart from modernism.

Through the employment of diverse techniques, Minimalism, Performance Art, Installation, conceptual artists have essentially sought re-interpret, what Pop artists first presented in a disorganized manner, and with no basis in the art theory. In fact, by defining the concept of an object in various ways, and through linguistic presentation and written explanations, they have directly questioned the very essence and nature of art, its mental and imagined aspects being a matter of no consequence.

Tony Godfrey, author of Conceptual Art (Art & Ideas) (1998), asserts that conceptual art questions the nature of art, a notion that Joseph Kosuth elevated to a definition of art itself in his seminal, early manifesto of conceptual art, "Art after Philosophy" (1969). The notion that art should examine its own nature was already a potent aspect of (the influential art critic) Clement Greenberg's vision of Modern art during the 1950s. With the emergence of an exclusively language-based art in the 1960s, however, conceptual artists such as Joseph Kosuth, Lawrence Weiner and the English Art & Language group began a far more radical interrogation of art than was previously possible. 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. Through its association with the Young British Artists and the Turner Prize during the 1990s, in popular usage, particularly in the UK, "conceptual art" came to denote all contemporary art that does not practise the traditional skills of painting and sculpture. It could be said that one of the reasons why the term "conceptual art" has come to be associated with various contemporary practices far removed from its original aims and forms lies in the problem of defining the term itself. As the artist Mel Bochner suggested as early as 1970, in explaining why he does not like the epithet "conceptual", it is not always entirely clear what "concept" refers to, and it runs the risk of being confused with "intention." Thus, in describing or defining a work of art as conceptual it is important not to confuse what is referred to as "conceptual" with an artist's "intention." HISTORY

The French artist Marcel Duchamp paved the way for the conceptualists, providing them with examples of prototypically...
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