Possibly the most abused word in the art lexicon, “conceptual” refers to any art work in which the idea is the work’s most important aspect. “When an artist uses a conceptual form of art,” wrote Sol LeWitt in his 1967 “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art,” “it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” While the question of whether the idea outweighs the work’s execution can often only be answered intuitively, conceptual art is nonetheless associated with a certain look: serial forms (since the idea often generates serial examples of itself), industrial/nono-manual production and the use of graphically emphatic language (as in Lawrence Weiner). Weiner, LeWitt, Mel Bochner, Joseph Kosuth and the Art & Language collective were among the first generation of conceptualists; included in our conceptualism library are examples from subsequent generations of artists who have extended their legacy.
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