paragraphs on conceptual art

Conceptual art is good only when the idea is good.

conceptual art: idea or concept as the most important aspect of the work.

  • not theoretical or illustrative of theories but intuitive, involved with all types of mental processes and purposeless.
  • all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair.
  • It is usually free from the dependence on the skill of the artist as a craftsman.
  • The ideas need not be complex. Most ideas that are successful are ludicrously simple.
  • Conceptual art doesn’t really have much to do with mathematics, philosophy, or nay other mental discipline. The mathematics used by most artists is simple arithmetic or simple number systems. The philosophy of the work is implicit in the work and it is not an illustration of any system of philosophy.
  • conceptual art is not necessarily logical. it doesn’t really matter if the viewer understands the concepts of the artist by seeing the art.
    • Once it is out of his hand the artist has no control over the way a viewer will perceive the work. Different people will understand the same thing in a different way.
  • Conceptual art is made to engage the mind of the viewer rather than his eye or emotions.

on ideas

the idea becomes a machine that makes the art.

  • some ideas are logical in conception and illogical perceptually. successful ideas generally have the appearance of simplicity because they seem inevitable.
  • if the artist carries through his idea and makes it into visible form, then all the steps in the process are of importance.
  • the idea itself, even if not made visual, is as much a work of art as any finished product.

on form

The form itself is of very limited importance; it becomes the grammar for the total work. arrangement becomes the end while the form becomes the means.

  • What the work of art looks like isn’t too important. It has to look like something if it has physical form. No matter what form it may finally have it must begin with an idea.
  • Color, surface, texture, and shape only emphasize the physical aspects of the work. Anything that calls attention to and interests the viewer in this physicality is a deterrent to our understanding of the idea.
    • Any idea that is better stated in two dimensions should not be in three dimensions. Ideas may also be stated with numbers, photographs, or words or any way the artist chooses, the form being unimportant.
    • Using complex basic forms only disrupts the unity of the whole. Using a simple form repeatedly narrows the field of the work and concentrates the intensity to the arrangement of the form.
  • This kind of art, then, should be stated with the greatest economy of means.

Space can be thought of as the area occupied by volume, where the question would be what size is best. If artwork is gigantic its size alone would be impressive and the idea may be lost. if it's too small, it may become inconsequential.

  • this dynamic emphasizes the physical and emotive power of the form at the expense of losing the idea of the piece.
  • architecture is concerned with making an area with a specific function. whether it is a work of art or not, must be utilitarian or else fail completely. art is not utilitarian. when three-dimensional art starts to take on some of architecture's characteristics, such as forming utilitarian areas, it weakens its function as art.

  • These paragraphs are not intended as categorical imperatives, but the ideas stated are as close as possible to my thinking at this time. It is one way of making art; other ways suit other artists. Nor do I think all conceptual art merits the viewer’s attention. Conceptual art is good only when the idea is good.

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