Conceptual Art Explained


What defines something as being artistic? Can something be discarded and noted as non-artistic? It is best described by a quote from Joseph Kossuth in an essay from 1969 entitled “ Art  after Philosophy”, which stated “All  art  (after Duchamp) is conceptual (in nature) because  art  only exists conceptually.”

At it’s peak in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Conceptual  Art  exploded as did the number of artists making their name known for their artistic abilities. As more and more artists came about so did more different and notably “strange” pieces of  art . In 1965 there was a talked about piece of Conceptual  art  created by John Latham created an exhibit entitled “Still and Chew”. It consisted of students sitting and chewing various pages of textbooks and dissolving them in acid.

Many Conceptual Artist’s work is not easily understood without some degree of explanation. In 1964 Yoko Ono released a Conceptual piece in the form of a book of instructions entitled “Grapefruit”; it was widely distributed by Simon and Schuster in 1971, and in 2000. It is said that within this book there are many listens that resemble a Zen like description of instructions. This expert from Grapefruit shows just that, “Hide and seek Piece: Hide until everybody goes home. Hide until everybody forgets about you. Hide until everybody dies.”

Additionally, a very well know early piece of Conceptual  art  is that of Marcel Duchamp entitled “Fountain”. The piece was “created” in 1917 and has been noted to have changed the face of  art  as it was known. In brief, “Fountain” was a urinal. He stated that it was  art  he created since he had gave it a name, put it in a different context, and caused the person viewing it to have a new thought of the item. Initially “Fountain” left a bad taste in ones mouth, but that soon changed. It became glorified, and in 2004 Duchamp’s Fountain was voted, by 500 British  art  world professionals, to be the most influential piece of  art  in the 20th century. That’s pretty impressive for a potty!

A sub-category of Conceptual  Art  is Found  Art , or Readymade as it is more commonly known. Basically this involves using an object that is not typically referred to as  art , but the artist may modify it. Basically Readymade can be used to describe any item that has a function that it not  art  related. Like a chair, table, window pane, etc. In order for an item to be considered Found  art  the final piece must have the Artist’s input, or at the very least, a thought or idea about the item noted in form of a title. If an artist decides to modify an item in the name of Conceptual  art  they cannot modify it past the point of recognition. Modification of Conceptual  art  can be split into three categories:

– Modified Found Object

– Interpreted Found Object

– Adapted Found Object

Let’s not forget another medium and another form of Conceptual  art  is Concept photography. This creates a photo in which the photographer has a goal to elicit an emotion from the viewer of the photo. Ultimately, the photographer wants the admirer to feel as if they are in the image rather than just an admirer of it. Conceptual  Art ,  art  based on ideas, is based off the idea of society needing to focus more on the ideas behind the  art  rather than the actual item itself. This is an amazing way to create conversation in the home, office, or other place where the piece can be viewed.

Source by Peter Dranitsin

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