Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Conceptual Art

Conceptual art is based on the concept that art may exist solely as an idea and not in the physical realm. For advocates of this movement, the idea of a work matters more than its physical identity. The movement began in the early 20th century, but was based on the European Dada movement and the writings of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Conceptual art also had roots in the work of the father of Dadaism, Marcel Duchamp, who was also the creator of the "ready-made." Conceptual art became an international movement, beginning in North America and Western Europe and spreading to South America, Eastern Europe, Russia, China, and Japan. It was a major turning point in 20th century art, challenging notions about art, society, politics, and the media with its theory that art is ideas. Specifically, that art can be written, published, performed, fabricated, or simply thought.

Conceptual art emerged in the 1960’s, the term first used in 1961 by Henry Flynt in a Fluxus publication. It later evolved into a different meaning when the Art and Language group, headed by Joseph Kossuth, adopted it. This group believed that Conceptual art was created when the analysis of an art object succeeded the object itself. The term gained public recognition in 1967, after journalist Sol LeWitt used it to define their specific art movement. Conceptual artists began forming around the theory that the knowledge and thought gained in artistic production was more important than the finished product. The first Conceptual art exhibit, titled "Conceptual Art and Conceptual Aspects" took place in 1970 at the New York Cultural Center.

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1 comment:

Dr. Flux said...

You can find a good .pdf of resources to help with research on Conceptual art at the following URL:

It is self-described in the following way:

This annotated bibliography is intended for the scholar or artist who needs a more in-depth
understanding of Conceptual Art. Because the moderns stand on the shoulders of giants, I
assume many contemporary artists require historical knowledge to more fully appreciate and
or articulate many of the questions that might absorb them. This guide is dedicated to artists
who require a genealogical knowledge of their discipline. Scholars, such as philosophers,
literary, cultural critics and art historians can equally benefit from this guide because of the
various movements’ highly philosophical bent.