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Styles & Periods
Conceptual Art

Conceptual Art is a style in which the expression of ideas or concepts is paramount, and the use of traditional artistic skills is often omitted all together. At times these works are integrated with sculptural or painterly materials, but the central thrust of the movement is that the ideas are the artwork, and are not dependent on the physical outcome or a presence in museums or galleries. This emphasis of idea over object is essential in Conceptual Art. It was developed in the late 1960s with the theoretically driven work of Minimalist Sol LeWitt, and came into bloom in the 1970s in the work of Germans Joseph Beuys and Hans Haacke, and Americans John Baldessari and Joseph Kosuth. Data, science, information, words and language became the new media for these artists. In 1970 the Museum of Modern Art presented a show titled “Information” co-curated by Joseph Kosuth. His work focused on the meanings of concepts that were familiar parts of everyday life, such as the chair and painting. He presented signs of these subjects, such as the dictionary definition, and a two- and three-dimensional representation of them. The work of Conceptual artists continues to span into the 21st century, and can include Performance art, Minimalism, Semiotics, Process and Earth-Art.


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