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Published on February 24, 2008

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ART 273 CONCEPTUAL ART http://brahms.emu.edu.tr/cyprusarchaeology:  ART 273 CONCEPTUAL ART http://brahms.emu.edu.tr/cyprusarchaeology Conceptual art: is not about forms or materials, but about ideas and meanings. It cannot be defined in terms of any medium or style, but rather by the way it questions what art is. Conceptual Art by T. Godfrey:  Conceptual art: is not about forms or materials, but about ideas and meanings. It cannot be defined in terms of any medium or style, but rather by the way it questions what art is. Conceptual Art by T. Godfrey The term ‘conceptual art’ was first used in the mid 1960s to describe the diverse practices of an internationally influential group of artists who held in common the conviction that art should raise fundamental questions concerning its own definition and the contexts in which it intervenes. :  The term ‘conceptual art’ was first used in the mid 1960s to describe the diverse practices of an internationally influential group of artists who held in common the conviction that art should raise fundamental questions concerning its own definition and the contexts in which it intervenes. CONCEPTUAL ART THE BEGINNINGS The Readymade and Marcel Duchamp:  CONCEPTUAL ART THE BEGINNINGS The Readymade and Marcel Duchamp Readymade- A term invented by Marcel Duchamp in 1915 to describe a pre-existent and often commonplace object which is chosen by an artist and then put forward as ‘art’. Conceptual Art by T. Godfrey:  Readymade- A term invented by Marcel Duchamp in 1915 to describe a pre-existent and often commonplace object which is chosen by an artist and then put forward as ‘art’. Conceptual Art by T. Godfrey Slide6:  The ready-mades are an experiment in provocation, the products of a conscious effort to break every rule of the artistic tradition, in order to create a new kind of art—one that engages the mind instead of the eye, in ways that provoke the observer to participate and to think! The bicycle-wheel was the first of the “readymade” in all he created 21 of them. His Bicycle Wheel, 1915. It invites the viewer to give it a spin. It was art’s first kinetic sculpture. Slide7:  Studio of Marcel Duchamp In 1916 a group of NY artists set up the society of independent artists to organize an annual exhibition. In a true democratic spirit they decided that there would be no Jury and no censorship; any artist that paid the fee of $6.00 could exhibit.:  In 1916 a group of NY artists set up the society of independent artists to organize an annual exhibition. In a true democratic spirit they decided that there would be no Jury and no censorship; any artist that paid the fee of $6.00 could exhibit. Slide9:  Fountain, 1950 replica of 1917 original (now lost) Slide10:  Fountain (1917) Duchamp’s most notorious readymade was a manufactured urinal entitled Fountain. Conceived for a show promoting avant-garde art, Fountain took advantage of the show’s lack of juried panels, which invariably excluded forward-looking artists. Under a pseudonym, “R. Mutt,” Duchamp submitted Fountain. It was a prank, meant to taunt his avant-garde peers. For some of the show’s organizers this was too much — was the artist equating modern art with a toilet fixture? — and Fountain was “misplaced” for the duration of the exhibition. It disappeared soon thereafter. As surely as it was a prank, Fountain was also, like the other readymades, a calculated attack on the most basic conventions of art. Duchamp defended the piece in an unsigned article in The Blind Man, a one-shot magazine published by his friend Beatrice Wood. To the charge that Fountain was mere plagiarism, “a plain piece of plumbing,” he replied “Whether Mr. Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view — created a new thought for that object.” At the time, almost nobody understood what Duchamp was talking about. But fifty years later everyday objects would be commonplace in art. Slide11:  L.H.O.O.Q. (1919) In 1919, Duchamp drew a moustache and goatee, graffiti-style, on a postcard of the Mona Lisa and added the caption L.H.O.O.Q. — which, as any French schoolboy could tell you, sounds like elle a chaud au cul (“she has a hot ass”). It quickly became an icon of the international Dada movement. Dada began in Geneva but quickly spawned local varieties. The version Duchamp and his friends brought to New York was full of sarcasm and wit, but free of of overt political and social criticism. L.H.O.O.Q. flouted contemporary cultural and artistic conventions, but with humor, not anger. Slide13:  Blue Sponge, 1959. Dry pigment in synthetic resin on sponge with metal rod and stone base, 39 x 12 x 10 inches. During the ensuing eight years Klein assembled a multifarious and critically complex body of work ranging from monochrome canvases and wall reliefs to paintings made with fire. He is renowned for his almost exclusive use of a strikingly resonant, powdery cobalt pigment, which he patented under the name “International Klein Blue,” claiming that it represented the physical manifestation of cosmic energy that, otherwise invisible, floats freely in the air. In addition to monochrome paintings, Klein applied this pigment to sponges, which he attached to canvases as relief elements or positioned on wire stands to create biomorphic or anthropomorphic sculptures. First exhibited in Paris in 1959, the sponge sculptures—all essentially alike, yet ultimately all different—formed a forest of discrete objects surrounding the gallery visitors. About these works Klein explained, “Thanks to the sponges—raw living matter—I was going to be able to make portraits of the observers of my monochromes, who . . . after having voyaged in the blue of my pictures, return totally impregnated in sensibility, as are the sponges.” Klein’s activities also included using nude female models drenched in paint as “brushes”; releasing thousands of blue balloons into the sky; and exhibiting an empty, white-walled room and then selling portions of the interior air, which he called “zones” of “immaterial pictorial sensibility.” His intentions remain perplexing 30 years after his sudden death. Whether Klein truly believed in the mystical capacity of the artist to capture cosmic particles in paint and to create aesthetic experiences out of thin air and then apportion them at whim is difficult to determine. The argument has also been made that he was essentially a parodist who mocked the metaphysical inclinations of many Modern painters, while making a travesty of the art market. Slide14:  Yves Klein Untitled Anthropometry (ANT 101), 1960 This monumental work was painted by the French artist Yves Klein. Women’s naked bodies in blue and gold float and soar through an intense blue space. Around these bodies Yves Klein has sprayed more paint, outlining each figure with a kind of aura. He has also sprayed round leaves and branches to leave silvery-blue silhouettes. Klein was famous for his vivid and distinctive blue which he called 'IKB' (International Klein Blue). He achieved this by evaporating the binding element in his paint so that only the concentrated blue pigment was left. The repeated use of this blue in his work enabled him to express a sense of mysticism, or 'the infinite expansion of the universe', as he called it. The painting also seems to contain an elemental sense of air, earth, fire and water. Yves Klein was a fanatical reader of the works of the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard who was interested in a psychological analysis of space and fire, which he wrote about in his books 'Dreams' and 'Air and Water'. Klein’s method of creating this work was very unorthodox. He staged a 'happening' in Paris at which naked women rolled in the gold and blue paint leaving imprints of their bodies on the canvas. The world 'Anthropometry' included in the title refers to the study and measurement of human forms. Once the canvas was vertical, the figures seemed to fly like angels through a celestial space, painted on a great altarpiece. Although the imagery is secular, the blue and gold palette evokes Italian religious paintings of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries where a blue-robed Virgin appears against a gold background. It is quite possible that Klein intended to convey a religious spirituality in this work. He was a devout catholic and was always writing prayers to his patron saint, Saint Rita of lost causes. Klein died at the early age of thirty-four as a result of a hereditary heart condition. Allan KAPROW, 1927- (American):  Allan KAPROW, 1927- (American) Slide16:  HAPPENINGS: "Happening has often been referred to as spontaneous, plotless theatrical events. Such events were not confined to a particular environment and could take the form of music, visual art or theatre. Evolving in New York in the late 1950s, they became popular phenomena in the 1960s and 1970s, under the influence of John Cage and his theories of the importance of chance in artistic creation. Other artists who contributed to the development of the Happening include Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, and Roy Lichtenstein. In Japan the Gutai Group and in Europe the Fluxus Group developed the original American ideas. To these groups the Happening represented chiefly an opportunity to transform a normal event into an extraordinary occurrence, through the use of everyday objects and materials taken out of context. Although, by definition, the Happening was an event unconstrained by the formality of the institution or the gallery, in many instances artists used such venues in order to stage Happenings which outraged or shocked the audience and demanded a degree of participation (e.g. the Happenings of Joseph Beuys)." Bloomsbury Guide to Art, © Bloomsbury 1996 Slide17:  In the Early Fall of 1959, a form letter was sent by "Reuben-Kaprow Associates" to many people in the New York metropolitan area.  "Eighteen happenings will take place...." it began and, after listing the dates and time, invited the reader "..to collaborate with the artist, Mr. Allan Kaprow, in making these events take place... As on of the seventy-five persons present, you will become a part of the happenings; you will simultaneously experience them."  After a brief message from Kaprow and a list of his exhibition credits, it stated, "The present event is created in a medium which Mr. Kaprow finds refreshing to leave untitled."                                                                                                           18 Happenings in 6 Parts Inside the loft gallery, three smaller rooms had been crated, their walls made of a framework of wood covered with semitransparent plastic. In each room, different numbers of folding chairs had been arranged, and the lighting in each room was different.  When those who had made reservations arrived, they were given a program sheet and three small cards stapled together.  The program sheet contained instructions explaining the performance was divided into six parts, signified by the ringing of a bell.  Instructions were given to participants on the three cards instructing them to sit in certain rooms during certain parts.  The performance consisted of series of 18 individual happenings - one per room for all six parts - so that no one person was able to view every happening.  The happenings themselves were varied - in some parts, performers, dressed in street clothes, simply walked slowly into a room and performed a series of choreographed stiff movements. In other parts, oranges were squeezed by a solemn-faced girl into 12 individual glasses and drank one at a time.  Another happening consisted of a man painting on a canvas, facing apart from the "audience" in his room.  All performances were accompanied by mechanized music at odd intervals and various lighting changes. :  Inside the loft gallery, three smaller rooms had been crated, their walls made of a framework of wood covered with semitransparent plastic. In each room, different numbers of folding chairs had been arranged, and the lighting in each room was different.  When those who had made reservations arrived, they were given a program sheet and three small cards stapled together.  The program sheet contained instructions explaining the performance was divided into six parts, signified by the ringing of a bell.  Instructions were given to participants on the three cards instructing them to sit in certain rooms during certain parts.  The performance consisted of series of 18 individual happenings - one per room for all six parts - so that no one person was able to view every happening.  The happenings themselves were varied - in some parts, performers, dressed in street clothes, simply walked slowly into a room and performed a series of choreographed stiff movements. In other parts, oranges were squeezed by a solemn-faced girl into 12 individual glasses and drank one at a time.  Another happening consisted of a man painting on a canvas, facing apart from the "audience" in his room.  All performances were accompanied by mechanized music at odd intervals and various lighting changes. Slide19:  Attendees were escorted through a black curtain into a narrow black tunnel, perhaps two and half feet wide and seven feet high.  They stood as the black curtain enclosed them once again and they were left in darkness, with only narrow rectangular slits on each side of the tunnel through which to observe the Happening.  Throughout the Happening, light and sound were used to create a general mood of uneasiness.  Above the tunnel, performers at times smashed cans and made hideous hissing sounds while performers moved nervously below them, unsure of what was going on.  Lights would come on in the rooms to the left of the right of the tunnel, and peering through the small slits, the audience would watch as happenings occurred.   These included the fight scene of two men with cardboard axes, as well, as a sinister seen of a nude girl with collard greens hanging from her mouth, enclosed in darkness and running around frantically, occasionally illuminated by a spotlight.   Towards the end of the happening, a lawnmower was heard and spectators in the tunnel gasped as a man with a blank face appeared and began pushing the lawnmower through the tunnel.  With nowhere to go but towards the back wall of the tunnel, participants backed against it, some beginning to cry out as the lawnmower kept approaching, the man staring blankly at the ground.  Just as he seemed to overtake them, the side walls of the tunnel collapsed and spectators rushed out.  The man "mowed" his way to the end of the tunnel, the lights came on and the performance was over. A Spring Happening, Allan Kaprow March, 1961 Slide20:  Conceptual Art - International, ca. 1966 Art that is intended to convey an idea or a concept to the perceiver, rejecting the creation or appreciation of a traditional art object such as a painting or a sculpture as a precious commodity . Conceptual Art emerged as an art movement in the 1960s. The expression "concept art" was used in 1961 by Henry Flynt in a Fluxus publication, but it was to take on a different meaning when it was used by Joseph Kosuth (American, 1945-) and the Art & Language group (Terry Atkinson, David Bainbridge, Michael Baldwin, Harold Hurrell, Ian Burn, Mel Ramsden, Philip Pilkington, and David Rushton) in England. For the Art & Language group, concept art resulted in an art object being replaced by an analysis of it. Exponents of Conceptual Art said that artistic production should serve artistic knowledge and that the art object is not an end in itself. The first exhibition specifically devoted to Conceptual Art took place in 1970 at the New York Cultural Center under the title "Conceptual Art and Conceptual Aspects." Because Conceptual Art is so dependent upon the text (or discourse) surrounding it, it is strongly related to numerous other movements of the last century.   Conceptual art is based on the notion that the essence of art is an idea, or concept, and may exist distinct from and in the absence of an object as its representation. It has also been called Idea art, Post-Object art, and Dematerialized art because it often assumes the form of a proposition (i.e., a document of the artist’s thinking) or a photographic document of an event. Conceptual art practices emerged at a time when the authority of the art institution and the preciousness of the unique aesthetic object were being widely challenged by artists and critics. Conceptual artists interrogated the possibilities of art-as-idea or art-as-knowledge, and to those ends explored linguistic, mathematical, and process-oriented dimensions of thought and aesthetics, as well as invisible systems, structures, and processes. Artists such as Joseph Kosuth and members of the Art & Language group wrote theoretical essays that questioned the ways in which art has conventionally acquired meaning. In some cases such texts served as the art works themselves. Other figures associated with Conceptual art include Mel Bochner, Hanne Darboven, Agnes Denes, Jan Dibbets, Hans Haacke, On Kawara, Les Levine, Sol LeWitt, and Lawrence Weiner.   :  Conceptual art is based on the notion that the essence of art is an idea, or concept, and may exist distinct from and in the absence of an object as its representation. It has also been called Idea art, Post-Object art, and Dematerialized art because it often assumes the form of a proposition (i.e., a document of the artist’s thinking) or a photographic document of an event. Conceptual art practices emerged at a time when the authority of the art institution and the preciousness of the unique aesthetic object were being widely challenged by artists and critics. Conceptual artists interrogated the possibilities of art-as-idea or art-as-knowledge, and to those ends explored linguistic, mathematical, and process-oriented dimensions of thought and aesthetics, as well as invisible systems, structures, and processes. Artists such as Joseph Kosuth and members of the Art & Language group wrote theoretical essays that questioned the ways in which art has conventionally acquired meaning. In some cases such texts served as the art works themselves. Other figures associated with Conceptual art include Mel Bochner, Hanne Darboven, Agnes Denes, Jan Dibbets, Hans Haacke, On Kawara, Les Levine, Sol LeWitt, and Lawrence Weiner.   Main characteristics of Conceptual Art: 1. Idea-based (form is incidental) 2. anti-heroic and impersonal stance of artist 3. impersonal execution (if at all), often industrial, often delegated 4. Language a crucial component "The work can be made. The work does not have to be made to be art." (LeWitt) :  Main characteristics of Conceptual Art: 1. Idea-based (form is incidental) 2. anti-heroic and impersonal stance of artist 3. impersonal execution (if at all), often industrial, often delegated 4. Language a crucial component "The work can be made. The work does not have to be made to be art." (LeWitt) Slide23:  Untitled, (Corner Piece) 1964. Painted plywood and pine, 72 x 102 x 51 inches overall. ROBERT MORRIS, 1931 American (Minimalist) Slide24:  In 1964, at New York’s Green Gallery, Robert Morris exhibited a suite of large-scale forms constructed from two-by-fours and gray-painted plywood. This kind of simple geometric sculpture came to be called Minimalist because it seemed to be stripped of extraneous distractions such as figural or metaphorical reference, detail or ornament, and even surface inflection. Sculptures like the Corner Piece, one component of the 1964 suite, boldly delineate the space in which they are located, thus defining the physical and temporal relationship of the viewer to the sculptural object. Morris’s sculptures often consist of industrial or building materials such as steel, fiberglass, and plywood, and were commercially fabricated according to the artist’s specifications. The value of the “artist’s hand”—the unique gesture that defines an individual’s skill and style—was inimical to Morris, and the work of art became, in theory, not an “original” object but a representation of the idea from which it was conceived. This notion allowed for the creation and destruction of a piece when necessary; Corner Piece, for example, can be refabricated each time it is to be exhibited. In 1968 Morris introduced an entirely different aesthetic approach, which he articulated in an essay entitled “Anti-Form.” In this and later writings he reassessed his assumptions underlying Minimalist art and concluded that, contrary to earlier assertions, the construction of such objects had relied on subjective decisions and therefore resulted in icons—making them essentially no different than traditional sculpture. The art that he, Eva Hesse, Richard Serra, and others began to explore at the end of the 1960s stressed the unusual materials they employed—industrial components such as wire, rubber, and felt—and their response to simple actions such as cutting and dropping. Pink Felt, for example, is composed of dozens of sliced pink industrial felt pieces that have been dropped unceremon-iously on the floor. Morris’s scattered felt strips obliquely allude to the human body through their response to gravity and epidermal quality. The ragged irregular contours of the jumbled heap refuse to conform to the strict unitary profile that is characteristic of Minimalist sculpture. This, along with its growing referentiality, led Morris’s work of the late-1960s and early 1970s to be referred to by such terms as Anti-Form, Process art [more], or Post-Minimalism [more]. Slide25:  Untitled 1969 Felt 125 x 72 x 55 inches Slide26:  Untitled, (Pink Felt) 1970. Felt, dimensions vary with installation. LANGUAGE Words and Signs JOSEPH KOSUTH b. 1945, Toledo, Ohio :  LANGUAGE Words and Signs JOSEPH KOSUTH b. 1945, Toledo, Ohio Slide28:  43 Joseph Kosuth, One and three Chairs. 1965. a folding chair, a photograph of a chair, and a photographic enlargement of a dictionary definition of a chair, 200 x 271 x 44 cm, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. One and Three Chairs is presented as having no function other as a clear definition of itself. Joseph Kosuth, One and three Chairs. 1965. Slide29:  Photostat mounted on board, 48 x 48 inches. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Gift, Leo Castelli, New York. 73.2066. © Joseph Kosuth/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Titled (Art as Idea as Idea) [Water],’, 1966. Slide30:  Titled (Art as Idea as Idea) [Idea],’, 1966. Slide31:  Titled (Art as Idea as Idea) [meaning],’, 1966. Kosuth presents his dictionary definitions of the words "White" and "Black" in the general format of a painting: square, flat fields with light figures and black grounds, hung on a wall. Yet the work refuses the pictorial project of painting and art in general, and instead addresses the language through which art is perceived, understood, and valorized. At twenty-one years of age, Joseph Kosuth became well known for his Art as Idea as Idea series (1966-67). These works consisted of photostats of dictionary definitions, each one enlarged, printed in negative (white words, black ground), and then mounted on four-by-four-foot boards. Highly influential works of Conceptual Art, they address the viewer as a skeptical reader of "the functions, meaning, and use of any and all (art) propositions...."1 As with all the words that Kosuth chose, "White" and "Black" are terms that are common in all discussions of art, but are particularly charged--or "packed," like baggage--in discussions of modern art. "Original," "Meaning," "Material," and "Universal," are some other terms that found their way into Art as Idea as Idea.2 White and Black's presentation of two definitions appears to be unusual for the series. It is not clear whether Kosuth originally conceived the panels as a single work. He installed and displayed the Art as Idea as Idea panels in various combinations, making the most of the inevitable diaologues between one definition and another.The Oberlin work also exemplifies the tautological chain of language critiqued in Art as Idea as Idea.3 (In "concrete" terms, the work is indeed white and black.) And while the series might generally implicate language as a structure of social consent and power, the racial implications of White and Black's word chains must have seemed especially pointed and disturbing when the panels were placed together in 1966, as they still seem now. As works that consist entirely of text, Kosuth's Art as Art as Idea series had an immense impact on the language-based conceptual practices of the 1960s, and on a wide range of more recent practices-- often termed "post-modern"--that address the present cultural and social arena in terms of its written messages. Jenny Holzer, for example, works almost exclusively with created texts that rework familiar sayings and notions into unsettling or enigmatic statements, in unexpected formats and contexts, while Barbara Kruger juxtaposes created texts with pre-existing images from the common culture in order to magnify and estrange the "normal" meanings and functions of such imagery. :  Kosuth presents his dictionary definitions of the words "White" and "Black" in the general format of a painting: square, flat fields with light figures and black grounds, hung on a wall. Yet the work refuses the pictorial project of painting and art in general, and instead addresses the language through which art is perceived, understood, and valorized. At twenty-one years of age, Joseph Kosuth became well known for his Art as Idea as Idea series (1966-67). These works consisted of photostats of dictionary definitions, each one enlarged, printed in negative (white words, black ground), and then mounted on four-by-four-foot boards. Highly influential works of Conceptual Art, they address the viewer as a skeptical reader of "the functions, meaning, and use of any and all (art) propositions...."1 As with all the words that Kosuth chose, "White" and "Black" are terms that are common in all discussions of art, but are particularly charged--or "packed," like baggage--in discussions of modern art. "Original," "Meaning," "Material," and "Universal," are some other terms that found their way into Art as Idea as Idea.2 White and Black's presentation of two definitions appears to be unusual for the series. It is not clear whether Kosuth originally conceived the panels as a single work. He installed and displayed the Art as Idea as Idea panels in various combinations, making the most of the inevitable diaologues between one definition and another.The Oberlin work also exemplifies the tautological chain of language critiqued in Art as Idea as Idea.3 (In "concrete" terms, the work is indeed white and black.) And while the series might generally implicate language as a structure of social consent and power, the racial implications of White and Black's word chains must have seemed especially pointed and disturbing when the panels were placed together in 1966, as they still seem now. As works that consist entirely of text, Kosuth's Art as Art as Idea series had an immense impact on the language-based conceptual practices of the 1960s, and on a wide range of more recent practices-- often termed "post-modern"--that address the present cultural and social arena in terms of its written messages. Jenny Holzer, for example, works almost exclusively with created texts that rework familiar sayings and notions into unsettling or enigmatic statements, in unexpected formats and contexts, while Barbara Kruger juxtaposes created texts with pre-existing images from the common culture in order to magnify and estrange the "normal" meanings and functions of such imagery. In his 1969 essay “Art After Philosophy”, artist and theoretician Joseph Kosuth argued that traditional art-historical discourse had reached its end. In its place he proposed a radical investigation of the means through which art acquires its cultural significance and its status as art. “Being an artist now,” commented Kosuth, “means to question the nature of art. If one is questioning the nature of painting, one cannot be questioning the nature of art . . . That’s because the word ‘art’ is general and the word ‘painting’ is specific. Painting is a kind of art. If you make paintings you are already accepting (not questioning) the nature of art.” During this formative stage in his work, Kosuth made the tautological nature of art explicit. As an analytical proposition, art presupposes the existence of an aesthetic entity that fulfills the criteria of “artness.” This criteria, as Marcel Duchamp proved with his readymades, could consist merely of the declaration “this is a work of art.” Kosuth used this linguistic approach to explore the social, political, cultural, and economic contexts through which art is presented and thus defined. To demonstrate this discursive aspect of art, Kosuth employed language itself as his medium. What resulted was a rigorously Conceptual art [more] devoid of all morphological presence; intellectual provocation replaced perception as words displaced images and objects. This shift was signaled in Kosuth’s First Investigations (subtitled Art As Idea As Idea), a series that includes photostats of dictionary definitions of words such as “water,” “meaning,” and “idea.” Accompanying these photographic images are certificates of documentation and ownership (not for display) indicating that the works can be made and remade for exhibition purposes. This strategy of presentation represents Kosuth’s attempt to undermine the preciousness of the unique art object and its privileged place in the museum. He sought to demonstrate that the “art” component is not located in the object itself but rather in the idea or concept of the work. Along with other Conceptual artists Kosuth waged an attack on conventional aesthetics that has informed the strategies of a younger generation. From Kosuth’s initial enterprise, these artists have inherited a deconstructive approach to art in which a critique of the production of meaning takes precedence over the communication of meaning.:  In his 1969 essay “Art After Philosophy”, artist and theoretician Joseph Kosuth argued that traditional art-historical discourse had reached its end. In its place he proposed a radical investigation of the means through which art acquires its cultural significance and its status as art. “Being an artist now,” commented Kosuth, “means to question the nature of art. If one is questioning the nature of painting, one cannot be questioning the nature of art . . . That’s because the word ‘art’ is general and the word ‘painting’ is specific. Painting is a kind of art. If you make paintings you are already accepting (not questioning) the nature of art.” During this formative stage in his work, Kosuth made the tautological nature of art explicit. As an analytical proposition, art presupposes the existence of an aesthetic entity that fulfills the criteria of “artness.” This criteria, as Marcel Duchamp proved with his readymades, could consist merely of the declaration “this is a work of art.” Kosuth used this linguistic approach to explore the social, political, cultural, and economic contexts through which art is presented and thus defined. To demonstrate this discursive aspect of art, Kosuth employed language itself as his medium. What resulted was a rigorously Conceptual art [more] devoid of all morphological presence; intellectual provocation replaced perception as words displaced images and objects. This shift was signaled in Kosuth’s First Investigations (subtitled Art As Idea As Idea), a series that includes photostats of dictionary definitions of words such as “water,” “meaning,” and “idea.” Accompanying these photographic images are certificates of documentation and ownership (not for display) indicating that the works can be made and remade for exhibition purposes. This strategy of presentation represents Kosuth’s attempt to undermine the preciousness of the unique art object and its privileged place in the museum. He sought to demonstrate that the “art” component is not located in the object itself but rather in the idea or concept of the work. Along with other Conceptual artists Kosuth waged an attack on conventional aesthetics that has informed the strategies of a younger generation. From Kosuth’s initial enterprise, these artists have inherited a deconstructive approach to art in which a critique of the production of meaning takes precedence over the communication of meaning. Slide34:  U.S. and Europe, mid-1960s Process art emphasizes the “process” of making art (rather than any predetermined composition or plan) and the concepts of change and transience, as elaborated in the work of such artists as Lynda Benglis, Eva Hesse, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Alan Saret, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, and Keith Sonnier. Their interest in process and the properties of materials as determining factors has precedents in the Abstract Expressionists’ use of unconventional methods such as dripping and staining. In a ground-breaking essay and exhibition in 1968, Morris posited the notion of “anti-form” as a basis for making art works in terms of process and time rather than as static and enduring icons, which he associated with “object-type” art. Morris stressed this new art’s de-emphasis of order through non-rigid materials, pioneered by Claes Oldenburg, and the manipulation of those materials through the processes of gravity, stacking, piling, and hanging. Process artists were involved in issues attendant to the body, random occurrences, improvisation, and the liberating qualities of nontraditional materials such as wax, felt, and latex. Using these, they created eccentric forms in erratic or irregular arrangements produced by actions such as cutting, hanging, and dropping, or organic processes such as growth, condensation, freezing, or decomposition. Slide35:  Expanded Expansion, 1969. Reinforced fiberglass poles and rubberized cheesecloth, three units of three, five, and eight poles, respectively: 122 x 60 inches; 122 x 120 inches; and 122 x 180 inches; 122 x 300 inches overall. EVE HESSE, 1936, Hamburg; d. 1970, New York City Slide36:                                                                                                                                              Fluxus Manifesto by George Maciunas, 1963. Slide37:                                                                                                                                                                     by Joseph Beuys, 1970 Manifesto: >noun (pl. manifestos) a public declaration of policy and aims. -ORIGIN Italian, from Latin manifestus 'caught in the act, flagrant'. Slide38:  I like america and america likes me, 1974 When invited to exhibit a a new gallery in NY Joseph Beuys wrapped entirely in felt and taken by ambulance from the plane at JFK airport to the gallery. Thus he did not see anything outside this space. Inside the gallery an area had been caged in and filled with straw, and a wild coyote brought in. Beuys lived alongside the coyote for 5 days. At the end of the 5 days Beuys returned in the same manner as he had arrived. Slide39:  "To make people free is the aim of art, therefore art for me is the science of freedom."    -Joseph Beuys Joseph Beuys Statement: "Creativity isn't the monopoly of artists. This is the crucial fact I've come to realise, and this broader concept of creativity is my concept of art. When I say everybody is an artist, I mean everybody can determine the content of life in his particular sphere, whether in painting, music, engineering, caring for the sick, the economy or whatever. All around us the fundamentals of life are crying out to be shaped or created. But our idea of culture is severely restricted because we've always applied it to art. The dilemma of museums and other cultural institutions stems from the fact that culture is such an isolated field, and that art is even more isolated: an ivory tower in the field of culture surrounded first by the whole complex of culture and education, and then by the media which are also part of culture. We have a restricted idea of culture which debases everything; and it is the debased concept of art that has forced museums into their present weak and isolated position. Our concept of art must be universal and have the interdisciplinary nature of a university, and there must be a university department with a new concept of art and science". 1979, From an interview with Frans Hak The Fluxus Movement The Fluxus movement emerged in New York around 1960, then it took root in Europe, and eventually in its way to Japan. The movement encompassed a new aesthetic that had already appeared on three continents. That aesthetic encompasses a reductive gesturality, part Dada, part Bauhaus and part Zen, and presumes that all media and all artistic disciplines are fair game for combination and fusion. Fluxus presaged avant-garde developments over the last 40 years. Fluxus objects and performances are characterized by minimalist but often expansive gestures based in scientific, philosophical, sociological, or other extra-artistic ideas and leavened with burlesque. Yoko Ono is the best-known individual associated with Fluxus, but many artists have associated themselves with Fluxus since its emergence. In the '60s, when the Fluxus movement was most active, artists all over the globe worked in concert with a spontaneously generated but carefully maintained Fluxus network. Since then, Fluxus has endured not so much as a movement but as a sensibility--a way of fusing certain radical social attitudes with ever--evolving aesthetic practices. Initially received as little more than an international network of pranksters, the admittedly playful artists of Fluxus were, and remain, a network of radical visionaries who have sought to change political and social, as well as aesthetic, perception. :  The Fluxus Movement The Fluxus movement emerged in New York around 1960, then it took root in Europe, and eventually in its way to Japan. The movement encompassed a new aesthetic that had already appeared on three continents. That aesthetic encompasses a reductive gesturality, part Dada, part Bauhaus and part Zen, and presumes that all media and all artistic disciplines are fair game for combination and fusion. Fluxus presaged avant-garde developments over the last 40 years. Fluxus objects and performances are characterized by minimalist but often expansive gestures based in scientific, philosophical, sociological, or other extra-artistic ideas and leavened with burlesque. Yoko Ono is the best-known individual associated with Fluxus, but many artists have associated themselves with Fluxus since its emergence. In the '60s, when the Fluxus movement was most active, artists all over the globe worked in concert with a spontaneously generated but carefully maintained Fluxus network. Since then, Fluxus has endured not so much as a movement but as a sensibility--a way of fusing certain radical social attitudes with ever--evolving aesthetic practices. Initially received as little more than an international network of pranksters, the admittedly playful artists of Fluxus were, and remain, a network of radical visionaries who have sought to change political and social, as well as aesthetic, perception. YOKO ONO, Japan 1933- "Yoko Ono's idea of license, the setting up of a situation where others could complete a work of art instead of the artist, was a radical departure from the existing concept of the role of the artist." Jon Hendricks in Fluxus, by Thomas Kellein, Thames and Hudson, London, 1995, p120. :  YOKO ONO, Japan 1933- "Yoko Ono's idea of license, the setting up of a situation where others could complete a work of art instead of the artist, was a radical departure from the existing concept of the role of the artist." Jon Hendricks in Fluxus, by Thomas Kellein, Thames and Hudson, London, 1995, p120. Slide42:  INSTRUCTION PAINTINGS From 1961-2 Yoko Ono made a series of pieces called 'Instruction Paintings'. These were a set of typed instructions (like the one below) originally in Japanese script but later also in English, exhibited on the wall, just as paintings would be. The apparent absence of images, combined with the instructions of the artist forced the audience to create the work in their imagination. These conceptual works are among the first examples of pure language standing in for the material of art. Slide43:  Yoko Ono, Cut Piece 1964 It was a form of giving, giving and taking. It was a kind of criticism against artists, who are always giving what they want to give. I wanted people to take whatever they wanted to, so it was very important to say you can cut wherever you want to. It is a form of giving that has a lot to do with Buddhism. There's a small allegorical story about Buddha. He left his castle with his wife and children and was walking towards a mountain to go into meditation. As he was walking along, a man said that he wanted Buddha's children because he wanted to sell them or something. So Buddha gave him his children. Then someone said he wanted Buddha's wife and he gave him his wife. Someone calls that he is cold, so Buddha gives him his clothes. Finally a tiger comes along and says he wants to eat him and Buddha lets the tiger eat him. And in the moment the tiger eats him, it became enlightened or something. That's a form of total giving as opposed to reasonable giving like "logically you deserve this" or "I think this is good, therefore I am giving this to you." 1968 Interview with Tony Elliot, from Time Out Yoko Ono was involved in establishing the movement, staging performances, making films and object-pieces. However, she continued to make work beyond Fluxus, wanting to break away from the labeling and controlling aspects of the art world and of society more generally, as an artist and as a Japanese woman. Her contribution to Fluxfilms included the famously controversial 'Film No. 4' which was a series of close-ups of naked human bottoms walking. Fluxfilms were experimental and innovative attempts to explore and play with the medium of film, rather than documentary or fictional narrative constructions. :  Yoko Ono was involved in establishing the movement, staging performances, making films and object-pieces. However, she continued to make work beyond Fluxus, wanting to break away from the labeling and controlling aspects of the art world and of society more generally, as an artist and as a Japanese woman. Her contribution to Fluxfilms included the famously controversial 'Film No. 4' which was a series of close-ups of naked human bottoms walking. Fluxfilms were experimental and innovative attempts to explore and play with the medium of film, rather than documentary or fictional narrative constructions. Slide45:  About "Bottoms": When I made the bottoms film, people said why don't you make one where you not only make them walk but run as well, or include the part where they take off their pants. These are good variations. But I have so many ideas that I can't afford to get hung up on variations. All I do is give an elephant's tail, the inkling of the thing, the basic format, and then after that people can do it themselves. My things tend to be just basic. Somehow I feel the natural trend today is not to be just basic, but decorative as well. I have friends where everything is rainbow coloured and when they come here they ask why everything is white. 1968 Interview with Tony Elliot, from Time Out Magazine, Yoko Ono, Film No. 4 (Bottoms), 1966-1967 DVD transferred from 16mm film (black and white, sound, 80 minutes) Slide46:  Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 2004 Slide47:  Ceiling Painting (YES Painting), 1966 Text on paper, glass, metal frame, metal chain, and painting ladder Collection of the artist Photo: Oded Lobl Sol LeWitt, American b.1928- :  Sol LeWitt, American b.1928- Slide49:  Modular Open Cube Pieces (9 x 9 x 9) Floor/Corner 2 (Corner Piece)1976x 110.5 Sol LeWitt created artworks by drawing directly on the walls of the gallery. He decided that since drawings were essentially flat, two-dimensional artworks, the best way to make them as flat as possible was to eliminate the paper and put them right on the wall itself. This means that when the exhibition is finished, the drawings are erased. What remains are the instructions written by LeWitt and the photo documentation. In this regard, the art is impermanent until it is purchased and installed permanently. The making of the wall drawings is a very collaborative process. Many conceptual artists use performance to express their ideas instead of creating objects, and rely on documentation to be the work of art. To many, the idea is more important than the work of art itself. :  Sol LeWitt created artworks by drawing directly on the walls of the gallery. He decided that since drawings were essentially flat, two-dimensional artworks, the best way to make them as flat as possible was to eliminate the paper and put them right on the wall itself. This means that when the exhibition is finished, the drawings are erased. What remains are the instructions written by LeWitt and the photo documentation. In this regard, the art is impermanent until it is purchased and installed permanently. The making of the wall drawings is a very collaborative process. Many conceptual artists use performance to express their ideas instead of creating objects, and rely on documentation to be the work of art. To many, the idea is more important than the work of art itself. Slide51:  Wall Drawing #260, 1975 Crayon on black wall Collection Museum of Modern Art, New York Installation San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Slide52:                                                                                                            Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing #565, 1988 Continuous forms with alternating 4-inch (10 cm) black and white bands. The walls are bordered with a 4 inch black band Collection Salone dei Camccini, Musei di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy Slide53:  Wall Drawing #299, 1976 crayon and pencil on wall Collection Levi Strauss & Co. When he began his career in the 1960’s, Sol LeWitt was interested in challenging traditional forms of art making. He decided to reduce his art to basic elements--black and white, the straight line, the square, and the cube. He also decided to expand these elements, or multiply them, to see what different combinations he could produce. By exploring multiples generated by a single idea, LeWitt deduced that each part was equally important to the whole. Definitions deduce: to infer from a general principle, to trace the course of expand: to open up, to increase the extent, number, volume, or scope of multiple: including or involving more than one reduce: to narrow down, restrict; to diminish in size, amount or number repeat: to make, do, or perform again Questions: • What happens to the drawing when the show is finished? • How do you think the value of art changes if the object itself is reproducible? • Since the drawing can be reproduced, do you think the value increases or decreases? Can just anyone reproduce it? • How do the drawings hold their value or importance? • Why would an artist want his/her work to be impermanent? • Can you think of other examples of art that are not permanent? • How do these forms differ from LeWitt's wall drawings and how are they similar? (performance, graffiti, murals) :  Questions: • What happens to the drawing when the show is finished? • How do you think the value of art changes if the object itself is reproducible? • Since the drawing can be reproduced, do you think the value increases or decreases? Can just anyone reproduce it? • How do the drawings hold their value or importance? • Why would an artist want his/her work to be impermanent? • Can you think of other examples of art that are not permanent? • How do these forms differ from LeWitt's wall drawings and how are they similar? (performance, graffiti, murals) What is going on in these artworks? Describe what you see. • Why do you think the artist wanted to reduce his artwork to just shapes, lines, black and white? • What colors do you suppose he added to his list later? (primary colors--red, blue, yellow) • Why do you think LeWitt enjoyed creating multiple versions of similar things? • Can you figure out his system for creating these works of art? :  What is going on in these artworks? Describe what you see. • Why do you think the artist wanted to reduce his artwork to just shapes, lines, black and white? • What colors do you suppose he added to his list later? (primary colors--red, blue, yellow) • Why do you think LeWitt enjoyed creating multiple versions of similar things? • Can you figure out his system for creating these works of art? Slide56:  Lighted Performance Box, 1969. Aluminum and 1000-watt spotlight, 78 x 20 x 20 inches. provokes another experiential situation. As a rectangular column, it resembles the quintessential unitary Minimalist sculpture, yet the square of light cast on the ceiling from the lamp encased inside alters one’s reading of the piece: the sense of a hidden, unattainable space, one that can only be experienced vicariously, is evoked. Thus, the performance alluded to in the title is only a private, conceptual act, initiated when viewers attempt to mentally project their own bodies into this implied interior place. BRUCE NAUMANN, b.1941 American.

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