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Conceptualism and the political referent in contemporary art

This book examines the impact of Civil Rights, Black Power, the student, feminist and sexual-liberty movements on conceptualism and its legacies in the United States between the late 1960s and the 1990s. It focuses on the turn to political reference in practices originally concerned with abstract ideas. The book traces key strategies in contemporary art to the reciprocal influences of conceptualism and identity politics. The central concept is a reversal of the qualitative assessment made by artist and theorist Joseph Kosuth in 1969. The book overviews the 1960s-1970s shift from disciplinary-based Conceptual Art to an interdisciplinary conceptualism, crediting the influence of contemporaneous politics dominated by identity and issue-based politics. It offers a survey of Adrian Piper's early work, her analytic conceptual investigations, and her transition to a synthetic mode of working with explicit political reference. The book explores how Conceptual Art is political art, analysing several works by synthetic proposition artists. It then surveys several key 1980s events and exhibitions before taking in depth the 1993 Whitney Biennial as its central case study for understanding the debates of the 1980s and the 1990s. Examining the ways in which Hans Haacke's work referenced political subject matter, simultaneously changing the conception of the processes and roles of art-making and art, the book argues against critics who regarded his work to be "about" politics. It also looks at the works of Charles Gaines, David Hammons, Renée Green, Mary Kelly, Martha Rosler, Silvia Kolbowski, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Lorna Simpson, and Andrea Fraser.

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Nizan Shaked

, language, visual systems of signification, the operation of cultural hierarchies, and the formulation of a political sense of being. These artists did not assume the existence of any inherent or essential identity, they instead established identity politics as a mode through which to consolidate political and aesthetic agency. The artists addressed in this book: Adrian Piper, Joseph Kosuth, David Hammons, Renée Green, Mary Kelly, Martha Rosler, Silvia Kolbowski, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Lorna Simpson, Andrea Fraser, Hans Haacke, and Charles Gaines, based their practices

in The synthetic proposition
From the 1960s to the 1990s
Nizan Shaked

arts, the humanities and social science. It can be said that this transition from the analytic to the synthetic is one of the key trajectories in the development of Conceptual Art into conceptualism. Joseph Kosuth first distinguished between the “synthetic proposition” and the “analytic proposition” in his canonical text “Art after Philosophy.” Citing the philosopher A.J. Ayer on Immanuel Kant’s distinction of philosophical propositions, Kosuth asserted: “a work of art is a kind of proposition presented within the context of art as a comment on art.”18 He approached

in The synthetic proposition
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The body after conceptualism
Nizan Shaked

allow us to read the work on its own terms. Adrian Piper: the body after conceptualism Initially, when she began working in the late 1960s, Piper had been an “artist’s artist,” known among a close network of peers concentrated around Conceptual Art, such as Sol LeWitt (a colleague and friend), Hans Haacke, Joseph Kosuth, Robert Smithson (mentioned in a work in 1968), Lawrence Weiner (to whom she dedicated an artwork in 1969), and, importantly, Vito Acconci (an early supporter and facilitator of her first public exhibition and circulation). Her photo-text work was

in The synthetic proposition
Conceptualism as political art
Nizan Shaked

The synthetic proposition: conceptualism as political art What began in the mid-sixties as an analysis of the context of specific objects (or propositions) and correspondingly the questions of function, has forced us now, ten years later, to focus our attentions on the society and/or culture in which that specific object operates. Our “radicalization” has, rather coldbloodedly, evolved from our work. (Joseph Kosuth (1975))1 There was the formation of the Art Workers’ Coalition as well as the Leftish (albeit simple-mindedly so) aspirations of some of what has

in The synthetic proposition
José Roca

(Philadelphia, PA: Philagrafika), 102–7. Also available at: [Accessed 20 July 2016]. Camnitzer is referring to works by Dan Graham and Joseph Kosuth printed across the pages of Artforum in 1969, in a conscious attempt to bring fine art to the masses through industrial processes

in Perspectives on contemporary printmaking
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Reading Lawrence Weiner
Katie L. Price

. Joseph Kosuth’s iconic One and Three Chairs (1965) relies on a printed definition of ‘chair’ to indicate to a viewer that the idea of a chair is primary to the work, as opposed to any singular, material chair. The piece consists of an actual chair, a picture of that chair and a dictionary definition of a chair. The piece’s effectiveness lies in the blandness of the photo, the ordinariness of the chair and the unassuming typography of the definition. The three chairs are not exceptional, and do not 147 148 Mixed messages 8.1  Page from the exhibition publication

in Mixed messages
Trish McTighe
Kurt Taroff

) production of Stirrings Still in 2015 with actor Ian McElhinney. Annually, there are a number of works inspired by Beckett: 2013 had two dance pieces inspired by Godot (by Finnish company Tero Saarinen and French company 2nd Act). That year also had a dance work by Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre inspired by Catastrophe and 2015 saw a revival of Maguy Marin's May B (first performed in 1981). Festival work spilled beyond its medial boundaries into installations in 2012 with Atom Egoyan's Steenbeckett , Joseph Kosuth's Texts (Waiting for-) for Nothing , alongside Antony

in Beckett’s afterlives
Anna Dezeuze

tendencies in art since circa 1960’ characterised by an ‘art of simplicity’.12 The exhibition also included Minimalist sculptures by Dan Flavin, Carl Andre and Richard Serra, conceptual pieces by Joseph Kosuth, On Kawara and Lawrence Weiner, as well as abstract works by Josef Albers and Blinky Palermo, and photographs spanning the twentieth century, from the work of Albert Renger-Patsch and Alfred Stieglitz to that of Thomas Ruff. In contrast, Densité ± 0 focused less on this ‘reductive’ tendency than on what the curators perceived as the ‘field of possibilities’ opened by

in Almost nothing
Tony Fisher

political being, as essentially oriented by an instruction stemming from (and in recognition of) the immanent needs and demands located in the lifeworld. In the former case, art learned how to conceptualise itself as a discursive practice. It originates with the investigative developments of conceptual art as theorised by Joseph Kosuth and also Art & Language, but it also leads

in The aesthetic exception