Conceptual Art Within Context Of Specific Issues Film Studies Essay

For this essay I will be discoursing Conceptual art within the context of specific societal and political issues and events, looking at creative person ‘s that were working in America and the state of affairss that were specific to the Americans. I will besides be looking at groups that emerged in and around Europe utilizing my ain notes taken straight from talks, books and a series of essays written on conceptual art, every bit good as information found from the cyberspace.

What precisely is art? This is a inquiry that has often been asked over many, many old ages. To some people it may be a picture or a sculpture. They may believe of a peculiar creative person say Picasso or Van Gogh, during the 60 ‘s people found themselves inquiring this inquiry more than of all time earlier. To a group of creative persons emerging from America and Europe during the Mid 60 ‘s the very inquiry of what art is, was the foundation from which their ain work would come to visible radiation. They became known as Conceptual Artists.

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Conceptual art is considered to be a development from minimum art. Questioning the whole thought of what art is and whether it has any mention outside itself. The thought that ‘Concept ‘ is in fact a stuff of its ain because a construct is frequently the get downing point for a piece of art, Art as an thought. If we look at some work by conceptual creative persons we can see how degage they became from traditional art stuffs and focused their attending to things like diagrams, exposure, readymade, text and most significantly linguistic communication to pass on with the public straight. An early illustration of conceptual work is a piece by Joseph Kosuth ( b.1945 ) entitled One and Three Chairs, -1965, the work consists of a series of three separate chairs. One is a wooden chair the other is a exposure of a chair and the last is an hypertrophied piece of text specifying what a chair is which has been taken from the lexicon. The creative person is pass oning straight with the audience in inquiring which of the three chairs the true individuality of the object is found. Is it in the thing itself, the representation or description? Maybe it ‘s found within all three of them or in the terminal it could be in neither of them.

Even Robert Rauschenberg who was associated chiefly with Pop Art took a measure towards conceptualism in 1961 when the Galerie Iris Clert held an exhibition in which they wanted creative persons to make portrayals of the proprietor, Iris Clert. Rauschenberg ‘s entry was a piece of paper that he sent via wire to the gallery with the words ‘This is a portrayal of Iris Clert if I say so ‘ . You can understand now that when conceptualism foremost began to emerge during the 2nd half of the 60 ‘s it was n’t taken earnestly among some creative persons and critics ; possibly this is down to the intelligent and complex nature of the pattern itself nevertheless as more attending was given by 1970 it started to derive credential, non merely in America but in Europe, England and South America.

Much of conceptualism was besides based around the thoughts of Marcel Duchamp who claimed to be ‘more interested in the thoughts than the concluding merchandise ‘ , Willem de Kooning stating this about Duchamp

‘And so there is that one-person art motion, Marcel Duchamp – for me a genuinely modern motion because it implies that each creative person can make what he thinks he ought to – a motion for each individual and open for everybody. ‘

To get down to seek and understand what it was conceptualists were seeking to state we need to look back to minimal art as some of the rules have derived from this. Minimalism came approximately as a response to Abstract Expressionism a motion supported by the influential art critic Clement Greenberg who believed that every brushstroke from the creative persons manus was straight from the psyche and besides that everything had a deep significance particularly the plants of Jackson Pollock arguably Americas greatest of all time creative person.

This was supported by Robert Coats who was an art critic in New York he was the first to utilize the term ‘Abstract Expressionism ‘ . Some creative persons that became synonymous with abstract expressionism were Rothko, Pollack, Hoffman and Newman. Minimalism so began to oppose all of this and began by taking natural stuffs and geo-metric forms and busying a infinite with them. Donald Judd created many of these types of sculptures. Because minimal art like conceptualism was criticized greatly in the media and by the populace he went on to state this about his work –

‘I object to the whole decrease thought. If my work is reductionist, it ‘s because it does n’t hold the elements that people thought should be at that place. But it has other elements that I like ‘ . – Donald Judd.

It is my sentiment that what Judd meant by this is that during the abstract expressionists clip you were about conditioned to ‘see things ‘ in pictures or acquire certain ‘feelings ‘ from them, of class Expressionism had its critics and people that had no respect for it but it is easier to understand how people became to understand it more. With minimal art I think what people had the hardest clip accepting was the ascetic value of it. Because many of the plants are impersonal there are no deep significances or messages possibly people found this violative to their intelligence. This claim can be backed up with the dirt of the Tate ‘s purchase of a Carl Andre work entitled ‘Equivalent VIII ‘ in 1972. The piece which was bought for ?4000 and in making so sent a shockwave through the art universe and was ridiculed in about every English newspaper with people outraged that ‘tax remunerators money was traveling towards manner out art ‘ .

The 1960 ‘s besides saw great alteration in America and in Europe. The United States saw the blackwash of President John. F Kennedy and the blackwash of Dr. Martian Luther King, which left many Americans lost and confused. The Vietnam War broke out 1959 so began to decline during President Nixon ‘s abode at the Whitehouse. Riots began to interrupt out protesting against the war which frequently led to violent clangs with constabularies. When Nixon decided to widen the war to Cambodia resistance was met with the tragic violent death of showing pupils at Kent State University and Jackson State College. Artist Hans Haacke ( b.1936 ) who is a German born creative person but was populating in America at the clip of the incident. He made a remark through a work in 1970 entitled ‘MoMA Poll ‘ in which a canvass was constructed with to plexiglass regular hexahedrons for the replies to be collected. The inquiry that Haacke made to people sing the museum was ‘Would the fact that Governor Rockefeller has non denounced President Nixon ‘s Indochina Policy be a ground for you non voting for him in November? ‘ with the bulk of ballot documents come ining the ‘Yes ‘ box. New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller was a outstanding member on the board of legal guardians for the museum he was be aftering a tally for the U.S presidential term at that clip. The installing was taken down for knocking the Governor and the establishment. Many more plants were to look like Haack ‘s around this clip.

Fig.1 Hans Haacke, 1970 – MoMA Poll

The Art Workers Coalition that Carl Andre helped to organize in 1970 which involved Artists, Writers, Film-makers and Critics even some Museum staff targeted New York ‘s museums. The chief aim was to set force per unit area onto the museums such as the MoMA and more infamously the Metropolitan Museum of Art they wanted to implement alterations such as more freedom for creative persons, less sole exhibition policy and contending the addition of work by adult females and black creative persons. They held two Anti-Vietnam presentations at the MoMA and in May 1970 headed by Andre and fellow creative person Robert Morris organised an ‘Art Strike ‘ against the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They wanted the museum to shut for one twenty-four hours in regard to recent atrociousnesss nevertheless the museum refused to shut.

Marcel Broodthaers ( b.1924 ) was an creative person who took up art in 1964 one time been involved in a group that were influenced by CoBrA, who were a group of international creative persons founded in 1948 and named from the first letters of Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam their purpose was to seek and resuscitate expressionism but started to go more involved in political issues. In 1969 Broodthaers made a fabricated museum dwelling of found-object, it was a political based undertaking and questioned the very impression of the museum and its map. It was named Musee d’Arte Moderne. The piece besides held assorted signifiers one which needs peculiar attending was ‘Departement diethylstilbestrols Aigles, Section des Figures, 1972. The room consisted of gear, chiefly wine bottles that all had bird of Joves on them. Broodthares so went on to put a little mark in forepart of them reading out ‘This is non a work of Art ‘ . The work itself took topographic point between 1968 to 1972 with a series of different events and installings incorporating the same impression of the fabricated museum.

Another creative person to hold a work taken down by Museum Administration like that of the Hans Haacke piece was from an creative person named Daniel Buren ( B. 1938 ) . In 1971 the Guggenheim Museum in New York held a series of international exhibitions which were designed to ‘help ‘ demonstrate broad reactivity. Buren, a Gallic creative person was invited to exhibit at the show. The piece that Buren installed in the Centre of the Guggenheim was titled ‘Peinture-Sculpture ‘ it was a elephantine fabric with chevrons running vertically down it, the installing hung from the fanlight in the Guggenheims chief stairwell. Buren ‘s purposes with this work were to pull attending to the ‘Peculiarly coercive and magnetizing effects of the architecture ‘ . Buren felt that the architecture distracted people ‘s attending off from the plants being shown. By put ining this work he felt he had to postulate with the gallery to hold his work seeable and as a consequence the work was taken down the same twenty-four hours it was installed. This was because it over shadowed other plants in the gallery by American creative persons nevertheless the New York imperativeness was composing about the anti-institutionalism, disregarded by broad humanistic disciplines organisations. Buren had caused a dirt.

Fig.2 Daniel Buren – 1971 Peinture-Sculpture

Not long after the Buren Incident Hans Haccke ‘s one adult male exhibition at the Guggenheim was besides cancelled. The work that was traveling to be up on show was his ‘Shapolsky et Al. Manhattan existent estate retentions, a existent clip societal system, as of may 1, 1971 ‘ . The work centralises around pieces of information Haacke found at the New York County Clerk ‘s Office in respects to the traffics of the Shapolsky household who were affluent belongings developers specifically covering in slum countries. Harry Shapolsky owned more slum belongingss than any other landholder in New York at that clip. Haacks research revealed how Shapolsky ‘s concern worked, holding different belongingss held under different company names. The work was deemed ‘inappropriate ‘ by the Guggenheim ensuing in it being cancelled. The conservator who supported the work was fired. The work was finally shown at a different gallery but its cancellation provoked Marcel Broodthaers to draw out from a Guggenheim show of European creative persons in 1972.

In Europe during this clip a group of creative persons would originate in Italy that would excessively assail the values of set up establishment of authorities and mass civilization. The term that would be coined to place this work is ‘Arte Povera ‘ which fundamentally means ‘Poor Art ‘ . The term was conceived by the critic Germano Celant in 1968 the creative persons created their work utilizing normally available stuffs such as Wood, Sand, Stone and Readymade ‘s.

Celant organised two exhibitions for Italian creative persons and he was a frequent protagonist of Arte Povera. The chief creative persons associated with Povera where Michelangelo Pistoletto ( b.1933 ) , Luciano Fabro ( b.1936 ) , Mario Marz ( b.1925 ) , Gilberto Zorio ( b.1944 ) , Giovanni Anselmo ( B. 1934 ) and Kounellis ( b.1936 ) . An illustration of the sort of political linguistic communication some of these creative persons where utilizing can be seen in a Fabro Piece called ‘Italia d’oro ‘ which means ‘Golden Italy ‘ . Made in 1971 it consists of a suntanned map of Italy which is left hanging by its Foot or the boot of Italy which it is sometimes referred to as. It is being hanged up with steel wire so its reminisant of a carcase in a abattoir. The fact that the piece is called gold Italy but the work is in fact aureate bronze is rather interesting.

The North of Italy was a batch more comfortable than that of the South and the north began to see a migration of people coming in from the South. Of class the piece besides tackles the issue of national individuality with the ‘Boot of Italy ‘ ( Calabrian Peninsula ) . Fabro made a series of these sculptures get downing in 1968 each one different and with each of his ‘Italia ‘s ‘ he was oppugning the very impression and attitudes towards object.

The signifier that each work takes was wholly dependent on the stuff the creative person decided to utilize with each pick being wholly different to the following. Fabro ‘s first Italia were between 1968 and 1969 this was during the pupil presentations that where go oning peculiarly in France and Italy. It ‘s apprehensible so to see how they instantly became taken as political remarks. For Fabro ‘s exhibition at the ‘Galleria de Nieubourg in Milan a posting was created as advertizement for the exhibit demoing one of his ‘Italia ‘s ‘ and because of the high political tenseness around that clip it was banned from being shown in public. Ironically this posting was later to be shown at the ‘Information ‘ exhibit at the MoMa of class along with the Hans Haack piece ‘MoMA Poll ‘

Fabro ‘s purpose by hanging Italy upside down was non at foremost intended to be political, although he did gain that the piece could be interpreted that manner. Fabros concern was to understand how the spectator related to such a recognizable image, what their impression were about Italy and what it meant to be Italian.

Student Revolt of the 1960 ‘s was stronger in France as they were in Italy. In May 1968 the streets of Paris become flooded with protest from pupils and workers. Over 10 million people went on work stoppage which lasted for two hebdomads. Inevitably riots broke out as constabulary started utilizing force to scatter the crowds. The presentations threatened to convey down the Gallic authorities of President Charles de Gaulle.

A group of Gallic creative persons that started in 1957 would travel on to make work socially noticing on the issues they called themselves ‘Situationists ‘ , their thought for libertarian Marxism would go popular after the work stoppages.

Fig.3 Photograph of public violence in Paris – 1968

Situationism is considered to be the collaborative attempts of Asger Jorn ( B. 1914 ) and Guy Debord ( b.1931 ) Established situationism with Asger Jorn besides establishing the CoBrA motion of 1948. The situationists shared similar idea to that of surrealism an illustration is Debord argued that ‘Everyday life, with its estranging work modus operandis and stultifying limitations, needed to be interrogated every bit strictly as category dealingss ‘ . Debord published two good known books entitled ‘Society of the spectacle ‘ and ‘Comments on the society of the spectacle ‘ Many of the work by situationists influenced the work stoppages with pupils making circulars and anti-establishment measure boards such as ‘Power to the Workers Councils ‘ ‘Down with Spectacle-Commodity Society ‘ and ‘Death to Cops ‘ .

Text was a really of import tool that conceptual creative persons used to convey their work. One of the most of import conceptual creative persons that usage ‘s text is Lawrence Weiner ( B. 1942 ) Weiner ‘s work comprised merely from text and written straight onto surfaces became some of the most ambitious work in art.

He formulated a Declaration of Intent which goes as follows –

The Artist may Construct the piece

The piece may be fabricated

The piece need non be built

Each being equal and consistent with the purpose of the creative person the determination as to status remainders with the receiving system upon the juncture of receivership.

I late saw an interview with Weiner in which he said the undermentioned statement, ‘An creative person is ne’er suppose to presume authorization, you think it, you think whatever you damn good delight but you do n’t presume it within the work ‘ . I found this statement peculiarly interesting when analyzing Weiner ‘s work. The usage of linguistic communication non merely allows the spectator to straight construe the work but it ‘s easy accessible and can be straight and to the point. What Weiner has besides said about his work is that ‘once you know about a work of mine, you own it ‘ . Possibly Weiner ‘s work takes into consideration how people react to art work whether it is contained within the traditional format of the gallery or installed within the populace.

Fig.4 Lawrence Weiner – 1991 Bits and Pieces put together to show a gloss of a whole

In decision I have learned that although there is no existent reply to what art is and likely ne’er will be. What some creative persons intend to make is utilize their work to inquire inquiries and raise consciousness to certain issues whether they are political or societal. Art is a cosmopolitan linguistic communication accessible either within the establishment or contending against it with the capableness to hold the power that could convey down a authorities. Artists will go on to force boundaries and inquiry the very impression of what art itself is. Besides that it is ne’er needfully the concluding result that is of import as Duchamp puts it, but the thought and development that comes from the creative persons mind that holds the true potency. From the grounds that I have gathered it is clear that this will go on in any state and under any sort of government.

Bibliography –


Art Since 1960- Archer, Michael- Thames & A ; Hudson, 1997 – Reprinted 2006 p.61-108

Concepts of Modern Art, From Fauvism to Post Modernism- Stangos, Nikos- Thames & A ; Hudson 1994- Reprinted 2001. P.256-270

After Modern Art 1945-2000- Hopkins, David- Oxford University Press 2000 p.161-183

Art, Politics and Dissent – Aspects of the art left in 1960ss America- Frascina, Francis- Manchester University Press 1999

Motions in Art since 1945 New Edition- Lucie-Smith, Edward- Thames & A ; Hudson 1968 New edition 2001 p.137-161

Web sites


Itunes Podcast – Tateshots- In the studio Lawrence Weiner 29/1/09

Quotation marks

Williem de Kooning Quote – Concepts of Modern Art, From Fauvism to Post Modernism -Stangos, Nikos – Thames & A ; Hudson 1994 Reprinted 2001. P. 256

Donald Judd Quote – Ideas and Images in Modern Art Lecture Eight – Sculpture in the Expanded Field

Marcel Duchamp Quote – hypertext transfer protocol: // object_id=79600

Daniel Buren Quote – After Modern Art 1945-2000 Hopkins, David Oxford University Press 2000 p.167

Lawrence Weiner Quote – Itunes Podcast – Tateshots- In the studio Lawrence Weiner 29/1/09



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