What is it?
• Art that is intended to convey an idea or concept
to the perceiver and does not involve the
creation or appreciation of a traditional art object
such as painting or sculpture.
The idea behind the work is more important than the final work
Uses images and objects to make the viewer think, and to think
particularly about what art is and what it means
Rejected the idea of “art should be pretty”
Rejects conventional painting and sculpture
What led up to this movement,
what influenced this movement?
It was a reaction against
• Formalism: the way object are made and their purely visual
aspects. The context for the work, including the reason for its
creation, the historical background, and the life of the artist, is
considered to be of secondary importance.
Framework of conceptual art?
• Installation art
• Performance art
• Conceptual film
• Conceptual photography
• Art is essentially conceptual
• “institutional critique”: Gallery/museum/the audience completes
• Self conscious: like Duchamp and other modernists they created art
that is about art and pushed its limits by using minimal materials
and even text.
My bed, 1998
The bed was presented in the
state that Emin claimed it had
been when she said she had
not got up from it for several
years due to to suicidal
depression brought on by
One and three chairs
Joseph Kosuth represents
one chair three ways: as a
manufactured chair, as a
photograph, and as a copy
of a dictionary entry for the
word “chair”. The
installation is thus
composed of an object, an
image, and words.
Kosuth didn’t make the chair, take the photograph, or
write the definition; he selected and assembled them
together. But is this art? And which representation of
the chair is most “accurate”? These open-ended
questions are exactly what Kosuth wanted us to think
about when he said that “art is making meaning”. By
assembling these three alternative
representations, Kosuth turns a simple wooden chair
into an object of debate and even consternation, a
platform for exploring new meanings.
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ô "The Art Daily with Lydia." : Tracey Emin, My Bed (c. 1999). N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2013. <http://theartdaily.blogspot.com/2010/04/