7 lucid stories of concept art


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Radical times call for radical art, and it was so between 1965 and 1975, when political and social upheavals shook the country. Conventional painting and sculpture seemed unnecessary, and stripping art of its bare essence anyway had been a driving narrative of Modernism. So get into concept art. Inspired by similar notions explored by Marcel Duchamp, conceptualism “dematerialized” art objects by putting ideas in the foreground. While this often meant purely textual work, concept art was actually a constellation of overlapping practices that included installation, process art, performance art, video, and earthworks. . While the movement was global, it acquired a particular resonance in New York City, where deindustrialization transformed lofts that were once warehouses and factories into inexpensive living / working environments for artists. Representing the ultimate expression of bleeding art in life, these vast spaces reflected the limitless possibilities of conceptual art itself. Eventually, rents skyrocketed and global capitalism turned conceptualism into a marketing trope. But it endures as a historical phenomenon in our list of essential concept art books. (Price and availability in effect at the time of publication.)

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1. Anne Rorimer and Ann Goldstein, Rethinking the art object 1965-1975
This book is the catalog of a 1996 survey of conceptual art at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, curated by Anne Rorimer and Ann Goldstein. The authors frame the subject as a story of the dematerialization of the art object in order to extend the scope of the genre beyond the linguistic work for which it is best known. Rethinking the art object covers the efforts of such figures as Vito Acconci, Daniel Buren, Joan Jonas, On Kawara, and Lawrence Weiner and includes essays by art historians Lucy Lippard and Stephen Melville, as well as artist Jeff Wall.
To buy: Rethinking the art object from $ 68.00 (used) on Amazon

2. Thomas McEvilley, The triumph of anti-art: conceptual and performance art in the formation of post-modernism
For a brief period, conceptual art and performance eclipsed painting and sculpture, and Thomas McEvilley views this interregnum in a larger political and philosophical context. The author proposes that the impulses that led to anti-art, as he calls it, predate the period (circa 1965 to 1980) in which it flourished, citing the Greek sage Diogenes, Romanticism 19th century German and the writings of Clement Greenberg. as a background. The book traces the influence of Marcel Duchamp and that of Yves Klein before delving into the history of conceptual art and its practitioners.
To buy: The triumph of anti-art $ 40.03 (used) on Amazon

3. Alexandre Alberro and Sabeth Buchmann, Art after conceptual art
This revisionist story came out in 2006, when the impact of conceptualism on contemporary art was still being felt (much more than today). The book notes, for example, that conceptual works of art were purchased by collectors from the start, and that the problems associated with acquiring such a work had nothing to do with its ephemeral character; rather, conceptual artists themselves believed that the success of the art market nullified the purpose of conceptualism. Another point made by the authors is that conceptual art’s rejection of the traditions of art history has necessitated the adoption of conventions from other creative disciplines – cinema, photography, commercial design – to give it a presence.
To buy: Art after conceptual art from $ 21.32 (used) on Amazon

4. Arthur C. Danto, After the end of art: contemporary art and the pallor of history
Danto, longtime art critic for The nation, took this book from his 1995 Mellon lectures on fine art, and although the title seems apocalyptic, its real subject matter is the denouement of the historical narrative of art devised by Giorgio Vasari in the sixteenth century. Danto blames his disappearance on Warhol, who, by driving the last nail into AbEx’s coffin, has eradicated the high culture on which art depends. Here, Danto pleads for a new critical framework that can face the world of post-historical art.
To buy: After the end of art $ 15.71 (new) on Amazon

5. Peter Osborne, Concept art
If you’re a conceptual art completist (or any interested reader, for that matter), Osborne’s tome is a must-read reference book. A professor and writer on the philosophy of modern and contemporary art, Osborne offers an encyclopedic narrative of conceptual art from its inception, focusing on major figures while including lesser-known names who were nevertheless central to the formulation of precepts of conceptualism. The book is illustrated with 250 photos and also includes a comprehensive anthology of related material such as artist statements, manifestos, and more.
To buy: Concept art from $ 47.01 (used) on Amazon

6. Kynaston McShine and Lucy R. Lippard, Information: 50th anniversary edition
In the summer of 1970, the Museum of Modern staged a soon to be legendary exhibition titled “Information.” Organized by MoMA curator Kynaston McShine, the exhibition was one of the first institutional inquiries into conceptual art, bringing together 150 artists from 15 countries. The associated catalog was designed as a stand-alone project that included a recommended reading list, a random index of the Lucy Lippard reviewer, and artist projects created specifically for the book. This edition, published on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the show, is a facsimile of the original catalog, long out of print.
To buy: Information $ 35.00 (new) on Amazon

7. Terry Smith, One and Five Ideas: On Conceptual Art and Conceptualism
Although conceptual art and conceptualism are used interchangeably, this collection of writings by artist, critic, and historian Terry Smith argues that the two are distinct. Smith, a former member of the English conceptual art group Art & Language, argues that conceptual art is a specific expression codified by art history, while conceptualism is a philosophical construct that applies to all kinds. contemporary artistic practices. Covering the years between 1974 and 2012, the book traces Smith’s thought as it evolved after the heyday of conceptual art.
To buy: One and five ideas $ 23.95 (new) on Amazon

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