A Postmodern beginning: Conceptual Art movement proper as ... Conceptual Art movement proper recap-art

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  • A Postmodern beginning: Conceptual Art movement

    proper as critique of art-as-object

  • Sol Lewitt, Installation at Paula Cooper Gallery, October 10-

    31, 1980s, Conceptual, A Postmodern beginning

    Lewitt says his art is, which he terms “conceptual,” is “„made to engage

    the mind of the viewer rather than his eye or emotions‟”; the conceptual

    “„making art that doesn‟t have an object as a residue‟” (Sandler, 70)

  • The Conceptual movement proper in post-1965 art emerged

    from the confluence of two major legacies of modernism:

    1. the strain of modernism, which I termed “conceptualism,” embodied in

    the readymade notion of art as self-definition that emerged out of Dada

    and was picked up by Fluxus performance art, Happenings and Pop

    art; “as a continuation of the central thrust in Duchamp‟s art and

    thinking. Duchamp had said that in introducing mass-produced

    readymades into an art context, he had added a new idea to the

    ordinary artifact.” (Sandler, 70)

    2. the strain of modernism, which I termed “formalism,” embodied in

    Minimalism and geometric abstraction that emerged out of the

    reduction to the literal or physical nature of the support; “the bracketing

    out of the conceptual component of minimal art” (Sandler, 70)

    Conceptual art can then be viewed as the “dematerialization”

    of a minimal object or a readymade, taking either back to

    the original idea that generated it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4cgB4vJ2XY

    Sol Lewitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective

  • Instructions for the wall drawing from the artist,

    “anyone can do it”! Incorporates some chance;

    each time the drawing is installed its slightly

    different based on who is doing it and their slightly

    different interpretation.

    This text also appears as wall drawing label near

    drawing when installed.

  • John Baldessari, An Artist Is Not

    Merely the Slavish Announcer,

    1960s, Conceptual, A Postmodern


    John Baldessari, Commissioned

    Painting: A Painting by George

    Walker, 1960s, Conceptual, A

    Postmodern beginning

  • In 1968 Baldessari presented an exhibition of word

    paintings, made up of canvases with statements about art

    painted on them.

    John Baldessari, A Painting That is its

    Own Documentation, 1960s,

    Conceptual, A Postmodern beginning

    John Baldessari, Everything is Purged

    from This Painting, 1960s, Conceptual,

    A Postmodern beginning

  • John Baldessari, "Ingres" from Ingres and Other Parables,

    1970, photograph and text, Conceptual art, Postmodern


    Conceptual movement proper, can be viewed through the

    lens of the “moral” of this work‟s story…. “If you have the

    idea in your head, the work is as good as done”

  • Sol Lewitt, Sentences on Conceptual Art, first published 1969, A

    Postmodern beginning

    1. Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic

    cannot reach.

    2. Rational judgments repeat rational judgments.

    3. Irrational judgments lead to new experience.

    4. Formal art is essentially rational.

    5. Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically.

    6. If the artist changes his mind midway through the execution of the piece he compromises the

    result and repeats past results.

    7. The artist's will is secondary to the process he initiates from idea to completion. His willfulness

    may only be ego.

    8. When words such as painting and sculpture are used, they connote a whole tradition and

    imply a consequent acceptance of this tradition, thus placing limitations on the artist who would

    be reluctant to make art that goes beyond the limitations.


    35. These sentences comment on art, but are not art. John Baldessari, John Baldessari Sings Sol Lewitt, 1970s

    Conceptual Performance art, Postmodern beginning

  • John Baldessari, Cremation Piece, 1970s,

    cookies baked with ashes of his paintings

    executed before 1966, Conceptual, A

    Postmodern beginning

  • Conceptual Art movement proper recap- art as idea rather than art as

    object, reducing art not to just essential visual elements and formal

    properties but to ideas; sometimes conceptual art is made in response to

    the materialism and commodification of the art market, sometimes to

    highlight that art begins as an idea in the artist‟s mind, and sometimes to

    set up a problem and answer it using form and image

    This movement is indebted to Duchamp and Dada, especially Duchamp‟s works like

    L.H.O.O.Q.; the work is about the idea of the Mona Lisa, what it represents in

    Western culture, and about challenging or playing with that idea in the form of

    doodling on its reproduction and titling it a pun, L.H.O.O.Q.- when pronounced it

    forms a sentence that is a vulgar slang phrase.

    This movement is also indebted to Minimalism, as per Lewitt‟s Postminimalist


  • Duchamp, Fountain, Dada, Modernism

    (conceptual strain)

    Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q., Dada,

    Modernism (conceptual strain)

    Lewitt‟s conceptualism emerges out of form-

    shape, line, color etc.- vs. Duchamp‟s

    conceptualism, his wordplays, puns and ironies

    Mondrian, Composition in Red and Blue, De

    Stijl, Modernism (conceptual strain)

    Robert Morris, Untitled (L-Beams), 1960s,

    Minimalism, Modernism straddles Postmodernism

  • But Lewitt and Duchamp, and Baldessari, challenge art-as-

    autonomous object and art-as-commodification- that art is

    only created through the originality of the individual

    author/artist genius thus critiquing modernism‟s formalist


    Then move art away from art-as-object and towards art-as-

    experience, where subject becomes object!