Conceptual Art explained

The key points behind the major international art phenomenon of the 1960s
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Lawrence Weiner, At the Same Moment (2009)

1 / 5 Lawrence Weiner, At the Same Moment (2009)

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The Pont Neuf Wrapped (1985)

2 / 5 Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The Pont Neuf Wrapped (1985)

Joseph Beuys, Felt Suit (1970)

3 / 5 Joseph Beuys, Felt Suit (1970)

Sophie Calle, The Hotel: Room 47 (1981)

4 / 5 Sophie Calle, The Hotel: Room 47 (1981)

Jenny Holzer, Truisms (1977–9)

5 / 5 Jenny Holzer, Truisms (1977–9)


In 1968, the New York artist Lawrence Weiner formulated a three-point statement of intent based around the idea that  the 'concept' behind an artwork is far more important than the technical skill of the artist in making it. The value of a piece of art lies in its idea, Weiner, whose latest works are on show now at London's Lisson gallery, argued, and not in its construction.

Conceptual Art became a major international phenomenon in the 1960s and its manifestations have been very diverse, from Weiner's large-scale texts and John Baldessari's witty prints to Josef Beuys' use of banal and worthless materials and Christo and Jean-Claude's environmental sculptures. 

Whether drawing from philosophy, feminism, psychoanalysis, film studies and political activism, the notion of the Conceptual artist remains the same: they are the maker of ideas rather than objects.

Scroll through the slideshow above to see some great conceptual works, and pick up your copy of The Art Book New Edition to read more.

 


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