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. Sol Lewitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4cgB4vJ2XY 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, Commissioned John Baldessari, An Artist Is Not Painting: A Painting by George Merely the Slavish Announcer, Walker, 1960s, Conceptual, A 1960s, Conceptual, A Postmodern Postmodern beginning beginning John Baldessari, A Painting That is its John Baldessari, Everything is Purged Own Documentation, 1960s, from This Painting, 1960s, Conceptual, Conceptual, A Postmodern beginning 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, "Ingres" from Ingres and Other Parables, 1970, photograph and text, Conceptual art, Postmodern beginning 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 conceptualism. Mondrian, Composition in Red and Blue, De Stijl, Modernism (conceptual strain)
Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q., Dada, Modernism (conceptual strain)
Robert Morris, Untitled (L-Beams), 1960s, Minimalism, Modernism straddles Postmodernism Lewitt‟s conceptualism emerges out of form- shape, line, color etc.- vs. Duchamp‟s conceptualism, his wordplays, puns and ironies Duchamp, Fountain, Dada, Modernism (conceptual strain) 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 values. Then move art away from art-as-object and towards art-as- experience, where subject becomes object!