Conceptual Art John Baldessari, (US b. 1931) I will not make any more boring art, lithograph, 1971, 57 x 76cm
So…what was Conceptual Art?? Joseph Kosuth (U.S. b. 1945), Titled. Art as idea as idea (water),1966. Photocopy, mounted on board, 121.9 x 121.9 cm Key features: *The use of language within works, or sometimes beingthe entire work; *Ideas were more important than an aesthetic object. It looked at the links between words, ideas, and images. Like Duchamp with his readymades, Conceptual Art tried to make us aware of the context that we are viewing art in (e.g. an art Gallery; or the street.)
Claude Monet (Fr. 1840-1926), Waterlilies, 1919 This is an artwork describing an Idea. It is not actually water. It is talking about water, with paint. We understand it to represent water. It doesn’t actually look anything like water. It’s square and flat and in a frame. The word ‘water’ in Kosuth’s artwork means ‘water’ just as much as Monet’s painting does.
Review: With WW2, many European artists, in particular several Surrealists, fled to USA to escape Nazism. America and more specifically, NYC, became the centre for the new avant-gardeart. This was politically good for the US and they milked it. The name of ‘abstract expressionist’ was applied to art that actually varied widely, but was all created at that time and mainly in New York. Like Pop artists, Conceptual artists wanted to challenge the dominant art of the 1940s and 1950s in America: Abstract Expressionism. Helen Frankenthaler, (U.S. 1928-2011) Other generations, 1957, oil on canvas, 175 x 178cm
Abstract Expressionist art was making big money; it became big business and an opportunity for the U.S. Government to show how advanced and creative Americans were. There was an emphasis on the importance of individual, talented artists who were creating these precious objects. The Conceptual artists were challenging this. They said: Who can be an artist? Who says so?If the idea is the important thing, rather than manual skill, then being an artist is something different people can do. Artists of this period questioned the commodification of art objects, that is, art as something that is bought and sold, often at huge prices. The meaning of the art was gettingcaught up in how much it costs. Piero Manzoni (Italian, 1933-1963) pre-dated the American Conceptual artists but had the same ideas and questions. You had to see this: Artist’s Shit no. 14,1961, faeces in sealed container. He produced 90 tins, each with 30 gms of faeces.
CONTEXT and the AUDIENCE was very important to Conceptual Artists (just like Duchamp.) They wanted to make the audiences aware of how our approach and interaction with the work makes the work possible. Conceptual artists broke away from painting and sculpture to create new art forms. Earth art; installations; performance art all were possible because of Conceptual art questioning the art object. Marjorie Strider, (US, b. 1934), Street Works IV – cityscape, 1969, 30 largeframes placed in various places, here in front of a building. Note the ephemeral nature of the work. The audiences response, also, is an important part of the actual artwork. Also, the documentation of a work is an important part – like this photograph. The Photograph records the artwork so becomes part of the artwork documentation, which is part of the artwork
On Kawara, (Japan, b. 1933) Wed Dec 12, 1979, 1979, acrylic on canvas, 46 x 62cm Yep, this is the artwork. Kawara is still in the process of doing a series – a long series – of ‘Date Paintings’, started in 1965 and still going. Each painting notes the date it was executed. That’s it. Kawara’s art was itself a documentation of a life shared with the viewer.
Much of this art was not interesting to look at. Why on earth would you want to create art that is boring to look at? Conceptual Art wasn’t intended to necessarily give you any visual pleasure . It was more of an idea. It was designed, not to please you visually, but rather to make a statement, or ask questions about art. Other movements that were associated with Conceptual art, or overlapped in terms of their ideas were Pop Art and Minimalism. All of these movements questioned the art object in some way, and generally they avoided evidence of the artist’s hand,or challenged this in some way. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOF3qhM6vIA John Baldessari, What is painting, 1966-68, acrylic on canvas, 172 x 144cm. Baldessari appropriated this text from someone else, got someone else to make the stretcher for the canvas, and got someone else to paint the text….!!!
CLIP ON CONCEPTUAL ART http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzh0TTrnS2o&feature=channel&list=UL 50cc of Paris Air, 1919, broken in America and repaired 1949 Duchamp, Bicycle Wheel, 1951 (reconstructed – original created 1913, lost.)
HSCshort answer question (This question worth 12 marks. The paper will suggest you spend 20 minutes writing this answer.) Q: With reference to the source material provided, examine the relationship between artist’s practices and the places they work. Plate 4: William Kentridge (b. 1955, Sth Africa) working in his studio, drawing for his animations.
Plate 5: Antony Gormley (b. 1950, British.) The artist preparing Asian Field; installation of Terra cotta figurines. 2006 Sydney Biennale. Extract: The newspaper photograph above shows Antony Gormley with his installation titled Asian Field. The terracotta figurines were made over 5 days in collaboration with 300 villagers in Xianxian, China. It was the biggest artwork in the 2006 Biennale and invited viewers to reflect on the world’s most pressing problems. Behind him, a dozen volunteers are painstakingly installing 180,000 figurines that filled the entire floor of the 140 metre long room at Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay.