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Cover: Keith Arnatt Sef'Burial (leln s on Intnfrenre Pmjr) r969 (detail of fig.29) Frontispiere: Vctor Burgin Possession 1976 (detail of fig.54) rsrx r 85437 4 385 A cataloguerecord for this book is available from the British Library Published by order of Tlte tustees byTate Publishing, a division of Tate Enterprises Ltd Millbank, London swlP 4RG
tL/ I ete 2002

ForPeter Knin and

All righ* reserved. PaulWood has assertedhis motal right to be identified as the author of this work Cover designedby Slatter-Anderson, London. Book designedby IsambardThomas. Printed in Hong Kong by South Sea International PressLtd.

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As befits an art of the mind,'Conceptual art'posesproblems right from the start.What was it?When was it? (Is it still around or is it'history'?)Where was 'X' ir ?Who made it ? (Are we to consider a Conceptualartist or not?)And of course,the umbrella-question: whyl Why produce a form of visual art premised on undercutting the two principal characteristicsof art as it has come down to us inWestern culture, namely the production of objects to look at, and the act of contemplative looking itself (fig.r)? This is not just a rhetorical device with which to open a book on the subject. These are real questions. It is not at all clear where the boundaries of 'Conceptual art' areto be drawn, which artists and which works to include. Looked at in one way, Conceptual art gets to be like Lewis Carroll's Cheshire cat, dissolving awayuntil nothing is left but a grin: a handful of works made over a few short yearsby a small number of artists, the most important of whom soon went on to do other things. Then again,regardedunder a different aspect,Conceptual art can seemlike nothing lessthan the hinge around which the past turned into the present: the modernist past of painting as thefine art, the canon from C6zanneto Rothko, versusthe postmodernist present where contemporary exhibition spacesare full of anything and everlthing, from sharks to photographs, piles of rubbish to multi-screen videos - full, it seems, of everything exceptmodernist painting. Moreover, Conceptual artt legacy is exceptionally argumentative.Most of the major players are still living, and matters of status and priority are jealously guarded.In the mid-r99os, members and ex-membersof the English group Art & Languageconducted a war of words in print about the history of their

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Henry Flynt ase:irlyas196rin the conrextof activities associated wjth the Fluxus grorrp in NewYork.In an essay subsequer.rtlv published ir.rthe Fluxtrs Anthologl1961'), Flynt wrote that "'Concept Art" is first of all an art of which the materialis "colrcepts"', going on to mrke the point that,'since"conce;rts" areclosely bound up with lalrguage, conceptart is a kind of llt of rolrich the r.naterial lar.rguage'. as central a figrrreas Lucy Lippard has commented is Yet, flatly that Flynts Fluxus-inspired sense of'Concept Art'had ljtrlc ro clo wirh what sheunderstood as the key activities of tlre Conceptrral art r':rngrrar.l in 'few NewYork in the mid- to late-r96os: of the artists with whorn I ir',rs

1 Josph Kosuth ldea [Meaning] 196T )

119.4 119.4 x t,47 47) x Thelveni Colection,

involvedknew about it, and in any case wasa differentkird of "cr,trcc1-.. it The point here is rol that a discussionof antecedents should be exclu.{,:.1 tion.r a study of Concel'tualart, brrt that, in wriring histories :rrt,ne h;u.' r,r L'c of wary of making plausible-soun.ling historicalconnections art rhar mar harc had lessimpact on the actualmakino of art acrhc trmc rh-rLr rctr..'L.ccrrvc genealogists would like. It is with srrchissuesin mincl that we haveto be awareof a thircl rerm rhar 'conceptu:ilisn'. hascone into increasing currency. The term is and ir hasrnore than one inllection. On the or.re hand, rhere is a use of this word f:rvour.t'.1 L'r'

2 fhzimirMalevich

PnrconomoNs PrnsPEcnvEs nno

The relationship between Conceptual art and modernism is a fraught issue. What we can say with some certainty is that modernism in the dominant form it had come to take in the Anglo-American world at least, that is to say as theorised by the critic Clement Greenberg and frequently dignified with a 'IVl, capital went into deep, arguably terminal, crisis in the late r96os.This was a spectacularfall. But it was not the first. The modern movement underwent an earlier crisis, from which it recovered,and from which modernism in the so'Greenberqian called senseemergedto become dominant. We need to establish a view of this M/modernism, tf,. b.m.. to comprehend Conceptual artt challengeto it. In doing so, we also need to encounter early modernismt'other': the historical avant-garde(a distinction I owe to the German historian Peter Brlrger).

BlackSquare1915 Oiloncanvas 80 x 80 (31% 31%) x Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Early modernism was transcultural and transhistorical in its sweep.The Bloomsbury critics Clive Bell and Roger Fry famously isolated the essential featureof art as'form':'significant form'for Bell,'expressive form'for Fry. For Bell and Fry and others, modern art as it had been establishedby Ctzanneheld out the promise of escapingfrom the weight of academictradition through this emphasison pictorial form.This, it was clairned, could affect the emotions of the sensitivespectator in away comparableto the effectsof sound in music; that is, independently of what the forms may happen to depict. It is easyto seehow this kind of thinking coincided with practical movestowards a fully abstract

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:uose irbout its identitl'.There was no precedentfor such a thing being regarded as a r.vorkof :rrt.With benefit of hindsight, it is easyto seehere how a crucial slippage canoccur betweer.r t'stablishrng i,,lenriq: ron,ethrnga' a work of the of , r r . , c c o r d i ntg 1 1 . o . : c r s r u . r i - , r n t o P rt essentialformal guality',and the vell opposite of that: treating it as art not because its ineluctably of right 'essence' formal to which we all assent, bcc:ruse contingcnt but of contextual factors, such as beir-rg in displayed an art exhil,itionor product'dbv someone uIon w'hom 'artisr' the idcntitl' hrs :r]rc;r.{r, been confcrrc.l. I)rrcharnl'-s6rst 'Unassiste d Rc;r.i ma.lc rr as a urct:rl bottlerack(lig.3,'. Dcspit.'his clairn that the sclectiorr arbitrarr,, rvls onc cannotbllt;lssulnchc chosc somcthinglust.los.' cntrughto th.' krn.l' of rhinqsth.rr*.rt bc!'innrn,'
to !'1Ilcrgc .ls sctr11.tt113l aonstrLlatrons. lcllll force thtto issrreof l hat * ls 1n,.1 lvasn't art, of rr'lrcrcthc rcalrn of the:resthetic cn.lc.l an.l * here Lrtilio began. Thc rcal rausr rlllt ceme a few \'.itrs l:rtcr n ith L)uchamp'-s Io,,ta,r

3 MafcelDuchamp Batuerack 1914, r e p l i c1 9 6 4 a Metal Editon e ghtrep cas of e a c h 4 . 2( 2 s r ) h g h 6 MarceiDuchamp Schwarz Edillons, lan M

4 Marcel Duchamp repica 1964 3 8x 4 8x 6 1 (15x19x24) Tate

Th" .to.), i. well knou,n. .fic.+1. Drrcharnp, with his identity asa \';urgLr:uLl artist well established, was on rhe st-le ction comnittee for an ol-.cnsculptrire exhibitior.rin New \brk. He bought a urinal from a t l l u r , l ' .r s . l r " p a n d. t ' h n r i t t cid r . r scrrlpture, crudelysignedwith the 'R. l M u t t . I I r "w , ' r u a ' k 1 ' . ', r J o n r n rejected the jLrrv despite bv the srr;'posecl oper.ness the exhil,ition of to ar.r1,one had paid their lrc who arid wasnot exhibired.Duchanp proceeded run rings round thc to jtrdgcs'published reasonsfbr 'immoral', excluding udnal: that it wassomehow the that it u,as'merel)/ plunbing, and so or.r.Thc point wasm:rde evenmore seriouslvfunny bl thtactuallyvery closeformal resemblance between urinal:rnd Constantrn the Branctsi'.s organicallvshapecl abstractsculptures,some of whicb haclalrcadv beenexhibitecl rhe United States. in

5 Jean-L6on G66me 0 Pti Cien7902 0 i o nc a n v a s 87x66(34%x26)

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serjolrs olqr.stiol-lsabout * hcrerhc bound;uics art lar'. C)tht-r.rr'aLrt-gltlists conLinuccl pJ.r\rhc .r rl..rl \I.r11,, m'r.lcln aLr t,r ,rr L.cc:irne srrlficirntly csLaLrlishc.l;rn.1 sLrlJicienth (selfl,) inrl-ort,rntto wilrr.lrirrts
or,vnrrrnning conunentlr\' fto1)r withir-rr]re r:rrrks. Thus thc f)'icl;iist Ilr:rncrs Picrbi:r pllvr.l r'itlr tlr. notion o1-l:rngulgt an.l vjsrral art as.listirct btrt rel:rte.l represent:rtionills\'stcnrslvhcn hc 1.r-,r.lrrccd pirnting m:1dcuf:ilDrost cnLirclt r of sign:iLLrlcs l-att'r, thc Srrlrcalist I{crt1 Magrirrc m.r.lt a l;rl lt.rchinq ifi-g.(r't. lncl rcllitr', l,oint lltoLrr r iso:il .tn.l vcrLralt-c;r-cscntrtior. abouf repr-escnr:rtion ,'.'This is lor r ll irlr his painting o1-a pipe c.rptionccl C,ii u tst yds ttn pipt I'11'.' Sirril:irh, in his painting of a hrr,,l rnirr,rr tlicre:rp;rclrs, insre.i.l o1-thc
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In rhe crllr'.lccl.leso1- nlcnti,..th rhc ccDtLlr\' thcn, rrrodc tisnt ]t:r.l bccornccsL.rblisht.l ith rhc ii
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Avnrur-enRDrsM Resumeo
The epochal political crisis of the r93osloomed over the modern movement 1n art and the possibilities availableremained circumscribed by it. Not until the reconfiguring of the world after the late rg4os,with the defeat of Fascism,the inception of the nuclear age,and the beginning of the ColdWar, did the by ground rules alter.After the initial period of post-war reconsrrucrion, the mid-r95ospictorial realismhad becomeidentified with artistic conservatism and repressive politics, while modernism spectacularlydrew breath and issued in the NewYork school. JacksonPollock, Clftrord Still, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and others produced abstract art on a scaleand with a confidence that seemedto per-it something new, something unavailableto Piet Mondrian, JoanMir6 and other European abstractartists.Modernist theory moreover becamehighly develop.d, -ort notably in the writings of Clement Greenberg and, later, Michael Fried. Another {actor to take into account is that, behind this intensified achievernentat the levels of both practice and theory, the institutional ground of modernism was burrressedin an expanding range of galleries,museums and publications. The relationship between modernist art and its institutional support is not straightforward, however.In the r94os and early r95os,the stanceof Pollock, Rothko and others was determinedly oppositional. Their art can hardly be said to havebeen made Jor the world that consumed it; if anything it was made despite ir, or as part of an attempt to survive it. Yet later historians have often blurred the distinction, reacting againstthe claims for artt independenceby associatingmodernist arr with American power. By the r96os,in the changedcircumstancesof opposirion

'(arr.ur 'saaJt o.4{t;o ildtrSoroqd auo iarr.atl'sra,{toqu?srg o.lrt :atrtl.l tuaprsa.rd 's8urppnq Sururng oar) ure8era^o pu .ra,ro 'Suqgnop pole:da.r3yosrr Jo tr aql q8noqr lpred 'sqde.rSoroqd3o uonr.rodrorur aql q8no.rgr trpwd'ue Jo >po^\ otll ;o ssauanbrunoqt 3o uonsanb rqt ssarppelyreap so.rnDrdrqf 'tsapour fla,trrtlar arr'II wulalI pur-I wnpa:I'suortrnpord r?tel sn{ Jo aruosJo sptepuets arp lg ',8urrurcd ad.,{r-ueruauv paller S;aguaarg rq.{ pue ltrurapour ufrraurv pal-Erparu'fsuarunsuo) 'uegrn ue uaa.&tagde8 arp turur a^eq ot sruaas qrlrl^t 'aJI pue tr uaaalag dt8 aqr ur ate.radoor rq8nos er{ 'spro.ll u.no sS.raguaqlsnU 'sntrrtap aarlourotnr pue spuilur pjgnts Jo llarrc'r uI e Sulpnpur srra(qopaprersrp'sradeds,nau'sqde.rSoroqd :Sulturedtsrurrporx Surpu'so56r-pFuaqr ur,sSunured Jo lrPgnads-umrpeur ar{rra^o poqsgSno.r aurguror, Sunleur un8aq peq S.raguagrsneA'$lro.r xaldruor a.re (6-g's8y) II whpal I P]o,e wwflI'arr,ut Surql aruEsaql slurrd llaterogrlaP Pur llsnoDsuor rH (op S.raguarpsnea uego1 saopreq.lt og'3ur1aa3 aueld Iesraarun 3o e ot spuarsepur bua8urluor sadnsa 'anbrun put anlt os Suraglg llasoa.rd 'aluetsrun)rn .relnrrt.redleqt 01 asuodsarur Fnprlrpur reprrt:ed teqt Jo arJl ;elnrrtred reqr Jo lrur1n8urs aqr rqr uorlrrluor r :>lrtru rrqdr:8orne agr;o 'llrssarau arp 'frnrruaqtne tlg rr{t 'olqlo1 Jo uorllrluor rno uodn puadop il >lretrAl ua^a 'aurl) zurC lryog rlrqsrv'Suruoo;1 ap turllrlA'lln5 p.ro3d13 'llollod uosrye{'uortlerlsqe p.rnrsa8 Jo Iooqls r lgelruassa s,t{usrurrporx IIlrf,IrauIY.Ilt{-lsocl'uEIu^{rN llruJeg Jo uolloelxo rlglou sLIfqrUA

'tq8q agt otur uraqt Sur8urrg pu sturpalalur s1rSur.ra,rorsrp ssaro.rdaqr ur pue '(rusrptrder jaurnsuor lueqdurnur r pue) usrurepour turldrunrrt Jo oJ orlt ur saaourIerrtrJr u^ro str 8urryur uorlr.raua8terlt ueqt 'uorle;aua8.uau t Sur.rrdsur saprtS-tue.te pur8r.ro aqt Jo ratttru E ssrl 'I[EJrdo'sEt{ ]J 'drur orll uo peg drutqrnq rnd'pue18ug ur uotlrrurH prflltl1 pue'rrrrruv ul o8e3 uqo{ pue S.raguagrsnU ilrgo1 'suqo{.radse{'so56r-pru arp;o apreS-tur,reluaS.raura fy.nau arlt lq snroy otur >lrtg rq8norq lyacrraga se.trdruerpnq ua^E'plro.{r Suqeods-gsl13ugarp ur u.4{orrTun lla.rrrua rurrt terlt le prureruar'rq8nogr rusrlllslog pue rusrparrns trqt pa>lJerurr Ielrlrn sry or slal ur.4{taqt ara.4{ lyssaypua pq oq.,!tpur 'stsrpnldaruor paSe8ua uaaq Jo uorte.rrua?e f,qpa>lo^ur 'so96raleyaqt ur uorttlsueJt str aJurs'srl ,uorrxpo.rdaX Flruq)aW;o a8y aqt ur trv Jo lro,{A., asoq,rt'urtur(urg rJtllA'.ue Surllrs-tsaq pu tsrurroJuof, .traur Jo stua8earue,rpe, pur ,rsedFrrlrl Jrlt jo sralrleJ, ag ot stsrtJetsrlearJns 'pa:ou8r se,er usrplrpr Ierruqlat s,tsurg xetr l pue 'tsure pa8pn( S.raguaa.rg 'ar:r.r8e141 se^rorrtrAJ rreltsge tsrurrpour e se p:p.re8:.r JurU pue r[ECI rope^Fs go l.ra8eurrurrrp aqt or sala rsruraporu ur polpur,!\p peq usrle?rrng 'rua.redde aruorrg rusrlrtrnJtsuo3 3o adors llt Jo asuasauos prp 'uawudxT luat3 aq1 slerg qpruea y z96r ur uouer{gnd arp yrun toN'pateratrlgo lldurrs alrnb sen p.ren8ue,r tar^os lll'Jpre8-tue^e aqt parrng pEq ,plor puE toq qtog ,sr,r 'araqertr aql'sartrlnre Jo alggnr rqf IDdaruoJ pa8pagl1p; e ;o spaas trc rgnads-runrparu-uou p '{etw ue ur aprrS-turle aqt Jo uorte rur8ar e aruer osl aJarlt'so56ragt ur rusruJapourJo afuatse.ropa aqt rltra lltuaJJnluoJ ::.trod Ief,rtrrf, Jo paurlp u*g tou peq tre lsrurrpour'portod.re.n-tsod str aterparururaqt ur tng 'uars rg ot rurJ s8urqr,noq rl teqt 're.,!r urtutarn aqt ol

But mole particularly, the narks of art itself are doubled in the repeateddaubs of Abstract Expressionrst painting. These :rretolersof spontaneity; authenticrty is placedir.rqrrotatior.r lnalks.The works'subjectn.ratter the institutionalisation is of spor-rtaneitr'. FdttwnI and Fdctum need eachother.The meaning of rhe work elnergcsin lI thc'sp:rce betwecn the two pictur-es, betweenthat spaceancla thir.l element: or the description, type,'gestural or abstract with sopainting'.B)i the laterr95os, Expressionism, strugglefol authentrcrty the called'second generation'Absffact h:rd becone a style. Four yearsearlier,Rauschenberg had taken a dilferent kind

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of .listancefron gesturalabstraction in the iconoclastic-Cra deKooning sed Drawirg(fig.ro). Rauschenberg obtained a drawing from de Kooning (with the latter's support be later said he chosea good one to make its erastrre dilicult) and then set to work laboriouslv rubbing it out. As a kind of critical symbol, the erasedde Kooning could hardlv be more economical:rrsinggestureto eiTacc gesture,using the samedeviceof meaning making to un-make one set of r-r-rear-rings institute xnorheri returning the achieved ar-rd aestheticunity of the finishc.-lwork of art to the primordial unity whence it came- the blank canvas or sheetof paper (albeit visibly r.r,orlr{.In their dillerent ways,both these

arrrrrua&age8 arp &ap8,{rd.ua llaraydruor :.,olrlqlqxa,rqr :r.tJ raao uretrnf anlg ural) FuorteuJrtul uE qdnoJqt passd'uorsello rqt JoJPaJrq pueg l.relpru e lg.paraa.r8'Suruado aqt ot srotrsrn'(pto,tr,{1-) aylArl paplt 'srred ur trtaye?uel3 srrl rrlt tE uortrgrqxa 956r s,qary qtl.{t errrer stroJta asaql 'a.rylg apeu s8unured :sorpog ;o pnldaruo3-orord tryealt lsoru rr{t Jo ruo pararus-lured-an1g srlert lq aprur s8urturrd jstunorue lueraglp ro; plos Jo rprqlt's8urlured aruo.rrpouoru(anyg urrry Ieuorteuratul sr palualed ruaur8rd arp) anlq Frrruapr Jo sarJas :sa.rua8 e JrtsrtJIeuortualuor Jo IelrlrJr sarntsa8 alge-redasur Jo srrrrsE prrenrul ulrD{ sr^A'a)ueJl ul'tg8notp pue uollre tuo-r1 Sururorag'Irn arp ur grT Ierlos qrr.u lprarrp aS.raru ppogs lre,(petsul 'leql E aql pue ,8ur1urqt Pue ltrrrrteaJf JoJrunlParu ssalasn st.u tJe InsI^,lql JaITag uo pasrtuerdaJe r serlrarlrerrtsrlle rraqt teqt rtor.{ JrtEI'sdnor8 qtog uI alrlle 'u.ro{ ra8sy 'LS5t w lEuorteuratul lsruorturs aql pue 'gt6t w papuno; s.t{ dno.r8e.rgo3 ar{I'se^rterlrur Iraaes turod Surtrets arp papr,tord usrlerrns ro; go 6e8a1 aq1('adornE ot uaag peq Sraquaqrsne1pue suqo{ rpog 'paapul) 'lJE uJaPou ruaJlsureru suorlurauor aql o1 rPntrttE Jo IelrlrJJ Jo sPeaJr{l arp dn prd or Suruur8agosle ara^rrrlupv aql Jo eprsrer{to aqt uo 8un1.ro,u srsrrrB'Si-l aqr ur S.raguarltrsnEu suqof ;o arrrre.rd aqr qlr.4tllsnoauerprur5 pue NVdVr ]dounf oNV

qtrurs ]senDeS pue asrno'l lpjequrau yB snou-ri{uoue uepue eseqcind aN IJoA/r UV ujopollro unssn!\l0l.ll \%98xy,79) 2 0 6x 6 ' s s l se ueS pelured uoreded pue su0Dcnp0.r00J 'cuqe] ladeds/r\au leded'uo^erJ'Iul ';ro:Burluredquo3 eur L96l il wnt?eJ yaqog fuequeqcsneg 6

u0Nall0c ezued aql'salaFuV sol 'uV {JeroduetuoJ eql ,0 urnosnn PAgtxy,tg) z'06 x 6'99tr seAuec palured uoJadsd pue suo[cnpuoer 'cuqej rodedsmeu 'Iul ledpd'uo^eJc 'l!o:tulluled lquoC au L96t I wnlce! Froquoqcsneu Uoqou 8

(ue roj asr arll rg ot osp tno surnt terp Jr ursrurapou o1 suaddegreq16'a8en8uel rpr,u lqd ar'rsarue8agr q8norqr 'suorlurluor Jo stasgo 8ur1.ro.at q8no.rrp arp 'parann lagr qrlq.,!rq slxeluor ar{t qtr.{r dn punog a.re paxpord sr 8urueay41 sr spro^r ;o Sururaur arp des ot sr tql',asn aqt sr Suruearuar1t, :uratsua8rrr,11 31.upn1yo lqdosopqd rarel aql ruog pa^rrap SuruearuJo .der^e go rq8q arp ur tre ur >lro r pu lrr ot un8ag peq suqo{',a8en8uel ag ot Surtured Surrra4ag ur,I, runtrrp srq ur srql uorS le.ue palla^er] peq larp aruetsrp arlr dn paturuns suqof .radsrftsnr-.lrolle; pu puau; s.Sreguarpsnta 'uonualuor pue a8en8uel qlauag aJa.{ 1I se araqdse 'arrueu ueunq otur uol}ua^uot q8nolp Surtsrng se 'uolJe)Iunururor, Surlnlapun s uorssaJdxa,.tres l;oarp tsruJapotrl 'J?rpo ql? punor Suryr.rnllruapuadapralur srerunsuol pue srotngrrlsrp 'srarnpord qlur 'uortrnpord Surueau;o uarsls pasrFuortntrlsur u sepate.radosurJoJsnorJ stl ur tre lrertsg 'uorleryru8rs Jo srrstg aqt ol u^rop Surrra8pur aErSSeg 'uorrelprsrp pue uortngr:nd go lSoloapr pasreaqrr Ierntlnr agt Suruosrlla(3o -lle,.uaqt alrdsaq 'tuatsls se tJ;o Surpurts.IapunuB sE.r{ srusruJrporu a,lrDadsar rleql urog aluetsrp lefrlrJf ,suortelaua8rpog Surur.ro;uruorldar.rad Irluar aql'rel11plro1\]srrC aqt Jo r^r arlt uo duerpnq Sulrr; asorp ruou soJuetsurnrJrfluaragrp fta,r ur tragle 'usruJaporu puolag ft.tl e Surlaas se^lasuaqt 'stsrtJeJo uorteJaua8 ta8unol e qlr.,lruJnt ul prterfosse ourfag 6e8a1 s,drueqrnq 'a8e3 uqo{ rasodruoJ lp r{tr,lt drqspuau; srq q8norgl 'sesuas aqt ot fiErqr ur ]re ue Jo suorttnu1 arp lg parog aruo)?g 3ur,u1 'punu llt Jo all^tas aqt ot tJe uJntal ol se&r Jarl.rtr l.rntuar-.ret.renbe sapeur{pea: aqt qtr.4{papuatur peq aq lerlr\ leql sof5r arp ur pa>lreuar peq durerpnq 'rrrsls^sotw PaSlPol arrrorag 'ralorJour pue 'peqreJueag sq uorssardxalenprlrpur Jo tnu{ aql aJuo,(uo oB or ^roH, uorrsanb aqr or sJa,r{sue SroguarpsneXlg sryo.u luasa.rda.r

Elsewhere, Grrtai grorrp in Japanembarkedon a seriesof performancethe tlpt' :rctivitiesin r955/56,inclrrding a walk along a white line and the collection of water ir.rthe depressions plastic strips Ioosely slung betrveentrees(fig.u). of journal that had printecl the Gutai mar.rifesto r956,CeijutstrShincho, The in also developedlinks with the ltalian avant-garde, lishing Piero Manzoni's essav put 'Free Dimelrsiori,in which he commented:'Expression, imagination, abstraction, are they not in thenselvesemptv ir.rl'entions)'. ltaly, Malrzoni L.r essayed transfbrnation of living peopleinto'works of art'bl signingther.n the

10 Roben Rauschen be Drawing 1953 Tncesofinkand crayon paperwiih on handlettercd label, ink n god]eafframe 6 4 . 1 x5 5 . 3 l25 tx,2I7) S a nF r a n c s c o u s e u m M offulodern Art, Purchased lhrough a gft of Phyis Wattis

11 Sadamasa otonoga l Water1956 Asreconstructed lorthe 1987Venice nnale Be (Akira Kamayama's theforeground befeath Watel

12 Pierc Manzoni 1961 [1eia andpaper 4 . 8x 6 . 5( 1 r lx 2 r ) Prlvate collecllon, an [4

(painting) and standingther.n portablcplinths (sculpture). r959,he on ln 'r'isuality' produced :r seriesof u'orks further challengingthc of visual art.The 'Lines'were producedon rolls of paperturning on:r machine, e:rch :rction havilrg a particular duration, and the completed drawing consistir.rg rhe of length of p:iper coveredbi' the line in tl.rattine. The rwist is that the lined scroll is then encased a cardboarclcylir.rder, in with a srnall section stuck to the outsideand henceactingasa label,amplifiedby a written clescription including the length of the line, tht' clate,t-tc.The drawing itself remainsinvisible.Tl.re

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One of the most immediately obvious featuresof the range of avant-garde practicesbroadly opposedto modernism wastheir abrogationof medrumspecificiry. Allan Kaprow wrote:'The young artist of today needno longer say "I am a painter" or "a poet" or "a dancer".He is simply an "artist". A11of life will be open to himlThis kind of affitude tended to createa very open situation, quite distinct from the exclusivityof modernist art. That openness was exemplified by Fluxus. As we have alreadynoted, the first use of the term 'Concept Art'occurs in the writings of Henry Flynt in r95r. Flynt's article arose out of Fluxus activity in NewYork, but the group had a wider catchment, embracing artists from Asia and Europe, as well as the United States.Yoko Ono had taken up residencein NewYork and was involved in many Fluxus 'instrucrion activitiesboth there and in her nativeJapan. These rangedfrom

Yoko ono CutPiece7964 Photograph of performanceKyoto in

74 George Maciunas

-\ ::

Fluxus Manifesto7963 Offset paper on ( 2 0 . 3x 1 5 . 2 8 x 6 ) G i l b e r te i l a i l v e r m a n L S Fluxus Collection

(concrete paintings',to vocalisations at music' events, performances. to Some of these,in her use of her own bodp a,ndthe evocationof extremelyedgy male/female power relations, prefigure later more overtly feminist work. One resonant example was the Cut Piece which Ono knelt on sragewhile male in membersof the audienceone by one cut awaypiecesof her clothing wirh a largepair of scissors (fig.t;). The prevailing ethos of Fluxus was a mixture of sharp criticism and whimsy, capturedby Dick Higgins'remark that many arrisrsin the late r95osand early r96osbeganto believethatl'coffee cups can be more beautiful than fancy sculptures'.Thissense the potential beauty of the overlookedand the of ordinary chimes with a long tradition of avant-gardistactivity, keeping irs 'high distancefrom the pomp and protocols of cuhure',which it roundly identified with the bourgeoisie. photograph of 1963 A showsHenry Flynt and a

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from description of Beuys'-Errasiaperforrnance 1966,reprinted in Lippard's Srx is worth quoting at length: hars antholoey, lyingon the floor whichwere Beuys slowlypushed smallcrosses two Kneeling,
towards a blackboard; on each cross was a watch with an adjusted alarm. On the board he drew a cross which he then half erased;underneath he wrote'Eurasia'.The remainder of the piece consisted of Beuys manoeuvring along a marked line, a dead rabbit whose legs and ears were extended by long thin black wooden poles. When the rabbit was on his shoulders, the poles touched the floor. Beuys moved from the wall to the boatd where he deposited the tabbit. On the way back, three things happcned: he sprilrHei white powder betweerr the rabbit's legs, put a thermometer in its mouth, and blew into a tube. Afterwards he turned to the board with the erased cross and allowed the rabbit to twitch his ears while he himself allowed one foot, which was tied to an iron plate, to float over a similar plate, on the 11oor.This was the main content of the action.The symbols are completely cleat and they are all translatable. The division of the cross is the split between East andWest, Rome and Byzantlum. The half cross is the United Europe and Asia, to which the rabbit is on its way.The iron plate on the floor is a metaphor - it is hard to walk and the ground is frozen.

Through activities like this, Beuysrapidly becameone of the most His incorporation of prominent artists in the international avant-garde. into his performances, and activities such as the planting of ffees, animals free-forrn'teaching'sessions, led to his being seen also combined with extensive as a significant figure in the politics of culture, particularly in respectof the emergence the'Green'movementin Germany.But it is worth recognising of that howeversuggestiveand uncanny they rnay havebeen, Beuys'activities remain somewhat ambivalent.Thus, while the Eurasia performance may well function allegorically, it is quite wrong to say that its symbols are'completely clear'.They arenol Part of what has happenedin moderniq' hasbeen the fracturing of public symbolism, or its etioladon into the terms and themes of the massmedia. Allegories such as the one performed here require assentto crossmeans...';'The stipulativedefinition if they areto work ('The erased deadrabbit means...';'Fat signifiesX';'Felt signifiesY'; and so on). And that requires assentto authority, namely the authority of the artist conceivedas shaman.Beuysmay offer a critique of the materialism of the consumer society, and of power relations in the world.Yet while speaking a languageof enabling and opportunity on the one hand (as in his argument that'Not just a few are of called, but everyone'),he relied on the exercise charismatic authority to establish platform. One thing we can perhapssaywith'complete .iarity'i. his that Beuyscan be positioned within an irrationalist tendency in German thought and art with its roots in the late eighteenth century, in the Rornantic critique of Enlightenment rationalism. As with many other kinds of performance-basedart, this raisesquestions of the kind we posed at the start: about the nature of Conceptual art, and its r e l a t i o n s h i t o c r i t i c i s ma n a l y s ia n d t h e d e m y s t i f i c a t i oo f a r t ' ss u s r a i n i n g p . s n ideologies. How one conceivesFluxus activities in general,or Beuysin particular, in relation to Conceptual art is largely a matter of definition. If we investigation of the restrict our senseof Conceptual art to a language-based

15 Beuys Joseph 1966 Eurasia Photograph of performance theTate at Gallery

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included the modular elementshe later developedinto his Minimalist sculpture,during the early r96osMorris was also making a range of enigmatic 'Duchampian' objects.Some of theseinvolved quotidian items (such as a bunch of keys or a ruler) cast in lead; one employed a photograph of the artistt body; there were castsof body parts and traces(a fist, footprints); and marry involved words. Some were highly self referential,seemingto parody the modernisr obsessionwith the autonomy of the art object.With one foot in the camp of the read),tnade, CardFib tecorded the processof its own production through the written entries in an alphabeticallylisted seriesof forty-four file cards:ftom Accidents toWorking, from the moment of conception ('whilst drinkrng

coffee in the NewYork Public Library') to goilrg out to buy the file itsell A key areaof contention betweenmodernism and the more diversified avant-garde concernedthe statusof the aesthetic. For modernists, it is not too much to say that the aestbeticwasthe be-all and end-all of arr, irs unigue and proper areaof competence, the caseof Fluxus, it waslessa question of In rejecting the notion of the aestheticas of broadening its range of reference, outwards from the medium-specific,formally achieved harmony of a modernist painting to, potentially, anything, an object, a sound or an action. In later Conceptual art, the question of the aestheticwas strategicallyput rn

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Frank Stella

Anrns lorl
Conceptual art grew in a spacecreatedby the avant-garde,and used it to mount a far-reaching critique of the assumptions of artistic modernism, in particular its exclusivefocus on the aestheticand claims for the autonomy of art. The modernist critic Clement Greenberg,discussingthe origins of modernism in the late nineteenthcentury,had spokenof a processof'dialectical inversion'. He was referring to the paradoxical development wherein modern artists had set out to try to find adequatelynew ways of representing their unprecedented modern world of boulevards,caf6-concertsand railway stations, and had ended by producing an art of autonomous visual effects.It can be argued that the reverse happenedwith Conceptual art. Claims that painting'appealedto eyesightalone', that visual art's'primordial condition was that it is made to be looked at, themselves becarne subjectsof a new kind of reflection.And the the paradox this time was that raising questions about autonomous art opened up a register of far wider issues;the modern world began to return to the agendaof a modern art. This is, of course,to overstate absence. lessa figure than its No Pollock had said of his abstract art that it was a responseto the Jackson demands of a new age.But low abstract art did that, and what the nature of its response was,had becomelessand lessclearasmodernism had turned into 'post-painterly abstractiori.In the rapidly changingconditions of the r96os, many artists grew sceptical of what was beginning to look like a modern incarnation of art for art's sake.As Claes Oldenburg put it:'I am for an art that does something other than sit on its assin a museum'.The title of a later retrospectiveexhibition of ry95 encapsulatedthe new agenda:Conceptual art

SixMile Bottom7960 paint l\4etallic on canvas 300x782.2 (778x 77%) Tate

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Stella's emphasis on the literfiess of the painting's support through his deep sffetchers and shaped canvases pointed to something else: to getting the work offthe wall and into three-dimensionalsoace,The result was an art of what calJed Specific Objecrs, and what the world hascome ro krow as Jr,rdd Minimalism. For Fried, this was tartamount to a dedaration of war on modernism - the 'theatricality': a kind of stagedperformance invasion of art by what he called encounteredin literal spaceard in real time by an embodied spectator,tot the 'presentness'. For elevationout of that condition into an instant of aesthetic Fried, modernist art defeatedtime, the realrn of contingency,and to reduceart to the condition of eveq/thingelsewassomething like treason.For many in the generationof the mid-r96os, however,it was not; it was a sudden and fundamental opening up of art. It was another of those chargedmoments of the kind we havealreadynoted c.r9ro-r5, when abstractart, all form arld trarshistorical essence, issuedin the readyrnade, contingency and context, all

The Minimal object, literal thing in real space,shorn of composition and handicraft, the endgame for the modernist preoccupation with form, went through the looking glass and in no time at a1lgaverise to Antiform: the work 'things' of art as anything, bits of waste, felt, rurdifferentiated stuff, and even no at all but actions and'ideas'. Once again,as at tle beginning of abstraction, it is as if the pararneters of the field were rnapped in a mornenlThat extended 'moment', from the beginning of the decadeto the mid-r96os, when modernism gaveonto Minimalism, whidr in nrrn gaveonto Antiform, may be regarded as the gestation period of a full-blown Conceptual art.

PArNflc A kind of testcase provided the paintingof Kenneth was by Noland andJules Olitski (fig.r8). For Michael Fried, this work wasexemplary that to which of modernistart couldaspire. with Stella, As it'cornpelled conviction'. What it

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the scalcof modernistabstractioo (fig.zo).Not all Gernan :rrt rl:rsI.rostage ro mysticism eithcr: in r969 Siglnar Polkc parodicclthc gcnre rvith Ilr lJglrr-l'or"rr: Connnad:Painttlx Right tlanl Corntr Bluk (frg.zr). IDEAs One gesture sumsup the changecl clir.natc. Augrrstr966,the Englishartisr In :rs lecturerat St M:irtins Schoolof Art rn John Latharr, employed a part-tiDre

20 lohn Baldessad CanpasingonCanvas 1966 8 289.6 243.8 x (114 96) x fuluseum of Contemporary San Art, DlegoGjftofthe arris!

27 SigmarPolke

Btack!1969 1 5 0x 1 2 5 . 5 (59i49I) Co ection, Stufrart

London, where rno.lernisln rv:rsa powertirl ir-r{1rrer-rcethc tcaching,u,ithcJrer.r, on a cop1 o1'Crecnberg'sArt anrlCulturc{ror.nthe collegelibrarl'. Ht- then inlrtcd 'chew-in' 'teach-ins' like-mindcdArtistslu.r(1 stu(lcnrs a to (mimicking the rnd 'sir-ins'of tl.rc time), which involvcdsclccting page, a rc:rring out, rna.rrcrting it ir, and spittir-rg results the into a recepr:rclc providcd.Larh:rrrsrrbsequentlv brokt'clorvn thc;'ulf into liclLrid with a concotion ol'cht-micals ir.rto whiclr yeast r,vas intro.1ucc.l. \Vhcr.r librerl rcqucsred book brck, it rcceive.l the irs :r

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gambits meant questionshad to be askedabout'the object'of art; arrd crucially, notby academics, critics, historiam, philosophers and other interpreters,but bv artists themselves. Theory, so to speak,becamea practical matter. of representationand perception becamekey issues.TheDutch Questions artist JanDibbetts produced a seriesof'perspective corrections' by plotting lines on a recedingwall, or landscapeplane, such that when photographed they appearedto be a squareparallel to the picture plane (fig.21).\n Photopath,Ytctor Burgin photographed a section of the floor of a room, blew the resulting monochrome pictures up to life size,and laid them down over the original floor 'Proto(fig.;+). Jo""ph K"tuth's investigations', including sheetsof glass,neon lights, and compound works involving objects, photographs and words, are said to havebeen realisedconceptually- as 'ideas'as early as 1965, though they werenot exhibited until later. Be that as it may, the works are representative early conceptual of inquiry into the object of att.In One andFive Clocks, andThru Chairs One and kindred works, Kosuth drew attention to the relationship betweena physical object and diflerenrkinds of representation ol ic visual, in the caseof the photographs, verbal in terms of the dictionary definitions (fig.24). Kosuth's early work waspan of a wider rendency that had emerged in New York. Ar exhibirionorganiseo by Mel Bochrrerin late r966 staked out some of the ground. A hundred drawings of various kinds were collected for an end-of-year show at the School of Vsual Arts. Bureaucraticobstruction meant thar the drawings could not be conventionallyfrained for display.Bochner'ssolution wasto usethe then new Xerox technology to photocopy them, standardsize ar.rd four times over,and 'display'them in four large,looseJeaf notebooks placed in the gallery on the kinds of plinth normally used for sculpture (fig.25).Out of a mixture of accident and design,Bodrrer had ordrestraredan event that occupied the very territory towards whidr vanguard activity seemed to be heading, the hinterland where art met various forms of non-art, and it becamehard to tell the difference.The problematic sratusof the installation was sustainedby the interaction of its constituent elements:the variety of the 'drawings'themselves,

22 JohnInfiam Art and Cultarc1966 Assemblagerleather case containingbook, letters,photostats, etc,, andlabelled filled vlals llquids. 1.9x28.2x25.3 (3%x 1% 10) 1 x TheMuseum lvoden of Blanchette Rockefeller Fund

23 JanDibbetts Pegpective Conection 1969 Photograph of instalation

24 loseph l$sufr English/Latin version 1965(bdibition veBion 1997) photographs Clock, and pintedtexts paper on Tate

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exhibition was,and what it was that an artist d;1.Siegelaubchallenged the conventionalexpectations stagingexhibitions that reversed normal by relationship between the work on display and the catalogue.In theJanuarl exhibition of ry59, while somephysicalexamples work wereshown rn of temporarily rented premises, real site of the exhibition wasthe catalogue, the which in Siegelaub's terms now became'primary'rather than'secondary' information. In a notable shift, artwork wasnow being conceived as 'informatiori, which could be circulated more e{ficiendy through the medium of texts and photographs than through the transportation of physicalobjects. It was the work of such artists that stimulated the claim that the tendency 'dematerialisation'of uniting the Conceptual avant-garde the the object of was artr a thesis advancedby Lucy Lippard and John Chandler in Arx Magazine in 'dematerialisatron February1968. The most literal exampleof this strategyof is afforded by the rvork of Robert Barry.Barry beganwith small monochrome canvases hung at on the gallery wall, disparatepoints which in exhibition therefore appeared bring into play the space to betweenthem. From herehe moved to wires. (lntttled 1968is a nylon of thread weighteddown with a steel disc, hanging vertically, and almost invisibly, from the ceiling. The wires wereabout as far as solid matter could be taken into the realm of transparency. The next step,logical1y enough,wasgas.The lnert GasSeries of 1969took in gases such as neon, xenon, and helium.The text for Heliumreads:'Sometime during the morning of March !, ry69, z cubic feet of helium wasreturned to the atmosphere'.Tellingly, the event is recordedin a photograph (fig.27).Other, yet more'dematerialised'worksby Barry include Telepathir Plrrr,'somethingclosein spaceand time but not yet known to me', and the assertionthat'for the duration of the exhibition, the gallery will remain closed', a work that was simultaneously'shown at several in difrerent venues the USA and Europe. Lawrence Weiner made the point ,borrt th. obsolescence physicalobjects of with tather more aplomb. He had originally been a painter,producing in geometrically striped or monochrome, shaped canvases the early to mid r96os,but he had also performed some more'exploratory'sculptural work involving the removal rather than the installation of material by blowing holes in the desertwith dynamite.From 1968 Weiner beganpresentinga seriesof enigmaticpropositions relating to similar kinds of actions.Theseincluded, 'One hole in the ground approximatelyr'x r'x r'. One gallon water basedpaint

25 MelBochner Wotking Dnwingsand Things on otherVisible Paper Necessarily not Meantto be Viewed as Att7966 Four identical looseleaf with notebooks the copies same100Xerox of studio notes, working drawings, diagrams and collected Xeroxed and bytheartist, displayed onfoursculpture sIan0s Binders: x 28 x 10 30 ( L L %7 Ix 4 \ x Sculpture stands 30.5x 6 3 . 5x 9 1 . 4 (12x25x36) courtesy the 0f Sonnabend llery, Ga New York


Christine Koslov lnformation Theory No 1970 Tape recorder and statement Courtesy oftheartist

Robert Barry lnertGasSeries (Helium)iFrom a Measured Volume to lndefiniteExpansion 1969 0n l\4arch 1969, 4 in the lvlojave Desert in 2 cubic feet California, was of helium returned t0 theatmospnere Photograph courtesy theartist

aql'dlllsloqlnE tnsD]E JEuollrPellJo ]o rJEJJPueq suollut^uol uo Jo J]!Eq sJrlJ.r 1.ro,,!{ :(L{1rJr{trJN'lndlno sq Jo .lof, oql .lrunsuotr ol PJllurluol Jo 'sBuI^rrP rrqtJ8ot qJlrl,4{ IlE.{{arll uo ]lEqrua ollnoqe se^IPu'(ot'8g) ruII] JEInPowFuoIsu.lulP-3aJql iuDnPo.ld uJ0q Ptrl llll!\J-l 3uros.loj ssJnDn.us '.teJ reqr snl Jo rrrurun s aW s awo{yy ut ,rJv ]erudaruo3 uo sqde.r8E.rtd, 1,96rut pa:eaddetsrg :rueu t st paqsqqnd:tr16a1 1oguaq,,u ,:re prudaruo3, N0[l.l3d]u duurg aq or suaddrq oqe 11'r:e pn:daruo3 Jo sPWq aql rr ror{lnE lsruraporu oqr 3o otg agr 3o rrurrod rruo.rrut sluasa.ldf,r pu.ng-fitg ' yontpuot Surpuadrurpaur8aur snp :og ;oqderaur e sr uras :q drur aruanbasrrqdtrSorogd aq1 pruuaaa aql Jlasunl rsruE Jqr Jo arue.readdesrp oru or palsaSSns Dalqo r:e agr 3o arue.rtaddrsrp 'alol,{ llEulY aql ol arueJ3js.I Inuuuol Jrll, '(62'By') 696r p srq 'uonesqeualeurap 1u1.t;cg-lp5 uo qtr sltuly qrre;qur srnrro totrre,r qsry8ug uV 'suonrtsgrutru pn:daruo3 lueur aprsSuop ot pa;a,roq'uortdunsuor put ssoy8 :ruetsrsal jo se rrr p:aua8 slr sr 1ea,r l:qenb rrptu;ou lpq8qs slraJntlnl-rJtuno) laPl.!{ alll Jo JPlllule lltq -prel .qf 'rusruorssardxg lrrr:sqy 3o suonrata urrsduorq arlt ruor; rno {lraqt palJur pue so56raqt ur peq oBrJ punoJ rsoqr P.qrosqp os lEr{t rnounq IE)zzrnb e ol parlp loo: ua7 rtqr 'lft Jentdaluo3 Jo alEJt turr; E tla; aq uEl e:allt lyre: Suolo,rord-rq8norJl tsour aqr Jo :ruos u1 'Suqladruor l Jpurreqr .pnlrre aqr Jo rpnul uaqt r,uE,arlt :ou ;r 'le1 uraraqa'Sutqlou JJnI \ sTo,4{rrepue lsourp op ol SururaJs srsu.rts arnlu aql lnoqe suottdrunsse prtuar Jo .ruos jo stIqrITarll paqord ::urarq'syo,,vr d1.rea asaqruI ]suft r9r Jo PuEqarll lE .q or .^eq rou prp uouesr]ErrtEqt 'pasqtar llprtslqd ::a,u :r gr 'la^oaJourpuy',t.re ;o 1oa,i, jo sutts :rp lo(ua ot JapJour prsrl"ar lle:rslqd aq or a,ttq rou prp 'fts or s rrtla'rynq r1 eapr aqr ur lr1 ,yo,u, aqr aq tou prJu {ro.,!{;rll t p.reruqrj aq,,lrtllJo,{\ IiI'z lro,^1 aql Dn]lsuotr lru:srt:e rq1 r,:ropu arrr.redu::r1t rpr,4{ ru.ruJrers tlJrloJo ru::rurur:druo>t eq: se,n':nSopttr r|ranrulsqnrl:3:r5 ur paqsrlqnd ts.rgse,,n ull,^{ 'sPrt^{uo rr 696r urog srrll or p:l1dde rourollrrqr rsr.ruaqa'(696r 'l9o ruaualelg),:sn r ur 8n.re u.ro:; p,roruar a:enbsy :(gz Bg :896I 'Izo ru.!uatr5) ,yp,'r'r uro:; preoq ge,n:o rarseld3o p,4{ rJoddns ro Sulqrel Jrp or p^ourr.r,,9t x,,9f y :rr Suqprsur uEqt :lllr.r IEIralu 8ut.r.oul:rutSog osp rauraA\');o,& JrI]rra srq uo dn 3ut1tt6 '(g96r 'l,ro ruaua:etg) rrer &;ds yoso:e prEpuetse luo.rj.roog aql uodn l1:ra:rp rured drrds 3o salnururo,na,l(g96r 'oro tuauattrs) ,l]orl srqr orur pa.rnod

constructions and drawings alike are fabricated by assistantsworking within the parameters LeWittt instructions.The opening of LeWittt'Paragraphs' of has come to constitute the canonicalstatementof a generalconceptualist approach:'In conceptualart the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist usesa conceptual form in art, it meansthat all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affairl As he declared,'the idea becomesa machine that makes the art', Lewitt was,however,careful to steer his notion of Conceptual arr away from any suggestionof intellectual aridrty,by offering qualification. ,r.r.h 'Conceptual ", art is not necessarily logical', and'The ideasneed not be complex. Most ideas that are successfulare ludicrously simple'. In fact for LeWitt, as he emphasised the slightly later'sentences ConceptualArt' of ry69, in on 'Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.Rational judgements repeat rational

28 Lawrence Weiner
AJO XJb removatn the lathingor suppott wallof plasterol wallboad tom a wall 1968 photograph Installation althe January 5-31 J969exhibition. The Siegelaub Collection Archives and at theStichting Egress Foundation, Amsterdam

29 KeithAmatt Self-BuriaI (Teevision I lnterference Project) 1969 photographs Nine on board panel Each 46.7x46.7 (18%x78%) Tate

judgements. Illogical judgementslead to new experiencejThissuspicionof the rational should not be surprising. After all, rationalism in the guise of planning, systemstheory and scientific analysis,was being enlisted ro prosecute the war inVetnam. LeWittt exhaustivelyrepeatedvariations of lines, cubes and geometry in generalseemat one level to do nothing so much as point to the insanity inherent in the obsessive pursuit of the rational. As Rosalind Krauss has argued,his strategiesowe more ro the maddeningly obsessive repetitions of Samuel Beckettt characrersthan to scientific rationalism (let alone to Pentagon planners). This interest in repetitive, mantra-like strategies,pursued through and beyond obsessionto a strangelysrill kind of meditation on rime, consrirures a notable trend within the overall range of Conceptual art, a rrend which, moreover,seemsto have spanned the continents. LeWitt was working in America. Roman Opatka, an artisr of Polish descentresidenr in Fran-ce, began


to paint a canvas 1965.Thecanvas in was painted blact, r95 cm high and r35cm wide. In the top left hand corner, with a brush laden with white paint, he 'z'. inscribed tlre 6gure'r'. Next to it he inscribed The sertes Oneto injnitl continues.By the time of the exhibitioo Clobal Conceptualsrrrr999, Opalkat in work featnred there bore the title ft96r76-t9t66t j.The artist speaksthe numbers in Polish ashe paints them, and the audio tape is a component of the work.The German artist Hanne Darboven, whose early careerreceivedsupport from LeWitt, beganworking with number sequences the mid-r96os. Her in installations characteristically took the form of shelvescontaining large volumes,the pagesof which were sorrtetimes coveredin hand-written number sequences, sometimescontained oI 30 only one; as in the work consisting SolLewitt of all the days of a century: 365 volumes of roo leaves each(fig.3r). Cubes/Haff 7912 off The pagesof the first volume Enamellad minium eu c o n t a i n l l t h c f i r s t - o f - J a n u a r ir h c 1 6 0 x 3 0 5 . 4 x 2 3 3 a es, ( 6 3 x1 3 0 % x 9 1 % ) second,a1lthe second-of-Januaries, Tate and so on up to all the thirty-firstof Decernbers. an exhibition at In the Konrad Fischergallery in Hanne Daboven Dtisseldorf during r97r, one volume Boals. A Century t97I photogf Installation aph was displayed,open, in sequence, of books booi,shelf and eachday betweenr ]anuary and the Museum lvodem of Art, end of December. Bestknown of this'genre', perhaps,are the dare paintings of 32 0n fwara the Japanese artist On Kawara, 3 DatePaintings: lan. begun on 4 Januaryr966.These too 15, 1966 (Ihis painting havecontinued, all slightly different, itselfis January15, 1966);ian.18,1966 all hand painted, eversince,each being accompaniedby a pagefrom a Jan.19, 1966 (Fton 123 Chanbes SL to newspaperof the day in quesrion 405 E 13k St)t966 (fig.32).Related seriesby Kawara Liquitexon canvas include postcardsmailed to each20.5x25.5x4 ( 8 x 1 0 x1 % ) individuals in the art world staatsgalerie Stuttgan recording the time at which he got up ('I got up . . .'), or whom he met on a particular day ('I met . . .'); and perhapsmost poignantly,'I am still aliveOn Kawara'.This is the kind of rhing rhar ffies the patienceof the sceptrc. Ironically, in the face of such manifestarionsof Conceptual art, one can do litde other than echo Michael Friedt claim made in respectof modernisr painting: if someonedoesn'tfeel they are'superbpaintings', then'no critical argumentscan take the place of feeling it', What it meansto feel convinced of the significanceof ar endlessseriesof numbers, or a wall fuIl of closedbooks that you know contain nothing but dates,or a minutely diferentiated seriesof canvases, a fair question,Insofar as there is an arswer, it perhapslies in the is realm of our responses the sublime, a senseof our hmitation in the faceof to

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i,hich address mss all and let'ters snoiU besent. England,"to Price 7s.6dUK, ff'l .50 USA All rights reserved
Printed GreatBritain in

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long series devotedto investigating implications of postulating evermore the 'work complex objectsaspossiblecandidates the status for of art'. The important phrasein that last sentence is'investigatingthe implications'. For the 'nomination classically Duchampian strategyof had become,if not exactly discredited,then redundant,otiose.After a certain point, there is no'point'in claiming another snow shovel,anotherpile of twigs on rop of Ben Nevis,

34 When Aftitudes Become Fom photograph Installation of exhibition the at Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 1969(with Victor Burgin's Photopath lhe cenlrc in foreground)

35 Keith Amatt Trouser Word Piece ts72 Photograph text and panel Each 100.5 100.5 x (39%x39%) Tate

IfiOUSEN -WOqD flrcE 'li is $!.ltlhought,5.d lda.e $y 6!.lry,ilitly $ougnttat wb .ne njghr cr{ 6e .ttmdtug use ot a .o ts bsic - 6d. ro &de$d 'x; * heed ro htrwhar i b to b Lsro b 6n Lad inat &Mq thi3 apprises us ol whai h B not ro be x- nor to b a. x .8d wka leal . . . . it b the rrgafve ss rhat w*6 rhe t@u3.6.ftai js, a deii.ie ssBe a{.chr. lo ihe a$e4io. &t sofr6ti.g i! cal, a real su4-ad such. only i^ 1k ligat ot a specfic q in 6i.h ft migbt b6, or n:sht bv beer. rol r1- A r*l dlck ditteB Irom be simob ? dud'o&!n th6r n is lsed to elcluds Edoos *6ys ot being rct a rl dud - M a domry. a to, a pitui, decq, tc ; ad norwer I do.1*neiud howro hke lheassedion 6at ia saldlducl u.l6ss l*.o*lutwtuion th.t oadi.ula.ocs'or, tle co@br hsd I i. nhd ro *dde. .. -ral' is .ot ro @rtribda postilely b ffe 6@sa ot {fte) ludis d &d9 rot @l'ard sarion ol6rfhi.o. bd ro sdude p6d* ry rhese eys are bo6 nude.ds iq Fdicob. thds d fthgr. d li.ble I is mG ldediry d to be qul diftared tor lni4s ol d'flered hds genoral l$..tion cohbined w$ immense die6iryin sFdic appli st ikst sigh!baffng teatu.e oi tions which glv$torh6word'real'se, 'n3anins,'nor havi.g .trer o.e sirgl Fi 6mbi9unt a .um&r ol Joh As!S.'Snse and tusibilb-

36 John Hilliard Camera Recording its ownCondition (7 aperturcs, 10 speeds,2 mirrorc) 197I Photographscardon on Perspex 276,2x 183.2 (85%x72%\ Tate

another brainwave,as a work of art. Atkinson and Baldwin (the name Art & Language'notyet being assigned as'author'of theseearlyworks) postulated such'objects'in rather more systematic fashion,in ascending ordersof complexity,to raisequestionsabout the ontology of art. The items in question included: a column of air (r.e.matter, in gas-state); Oxfordshire (i.e. an irregular, spatially bounded area;but what of the third dimension? How deepl); the French Army (i.e. a complex entity made up of various men and machines,

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photography. ForWall, the important precursor here was Ed Ruscha,who had begun his seriesof photobooks as early as 1961with Twentl-SixCasoline Stations (fig.lZ), continuing wrth Some Angebs Los Apartmentq Euery and BuildingonSunset Strip.Photography increasinglybecameused to document the varieqzof activities and performances that formed an evermore influential complement to more narrowly'analytical' Concepfual art. Activities as diverseas those by Gilbert and Georgeand Richard Long in Britain (fig.;S), and Robert Smithson and Bruce Nauman in the United Statesall relied on the photograph to establishtheir presencein the field, either in exhibitions or in the pagesof books and magazines. The status of all these activities was markedly unstable at the time of their first appearance. Nauman has commented on how he spent a lot of time reassessing what it was that artists were supposed to do, and that his early work was made out of just that activityl spilled coffee, pacing around the studio, and the like (fig.39). As he said, the only way to find out whether it was art was to do it. Nauman admitted that there was a great deal of confusion as it becameapparent that art'doesnt require being able to draw, or being able to

paint well or know colours, it doesnt require anyof those specific things that are in the discipline, to be interesting'. And yet without skill and accomplishment of somekind, there would be nothing to communicate. As Nauman put it, what was interesting was'the edgebetween'the two conditions. In the mid-r96os, Dan Graham was producing works thar at the time had an extremelyunstable identiqt, were hardly'art' at all, but which havesubsequently been accorded exemplary status in the Conceptual canon. Graham was engaged in the usual round of writing and reviewing, the hinterland of poerry and art that constituted life in the NewYork avant-garde, forever struggling to get his piecespublished.Marchjtst t966 consistedof eleven'lines'recounting the distance from the edgeof the known universeto Graham's own retina, via the distancestoWashingron DC, toTimes Squarein NewYork, ro Grahamt own front door, and the sheet of paper on the typewriter. The mixture of flat literalism and quirkily imaginative meditation on the processof looking, or rhe processof writing, is characteristic the economy of Graham'smeans belying the sweepof the idea. In two nicely judged inversions of consumer culrure

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rhetoric of self-expression, valorisatjon of individual feeling, aboveall of the autonomy itself, simply do not accord with the forn of contemporary life, wherein subjectivity itself is mass produced.In ellect, that is to say,modernism is ideological with respectto modernity. It concealsthe absence its own of valuesfron lived social life. Rather than ofering a genuine transcendence of contingencl, institutionalised modernism functions aspart of the ideological mask of a manipulative and disabling social order. It goeswithout sayingthat no art can escape framing .onditions of rts the time. But the feeling was widespreadamong younger artists that the price of medium-specificitv. and indeed of the related division of labour [tetwe"., modernisfartist and rnodernist critic (painterspnfuta1), contributed to an art that had become afirmative of - rather than critical of - its social matrix. Robert Smithson, best known for his large-scale earthworks of the early r97os, also produced text/photograph piecesaround this time. Smithson'sinfluence was powerful and fundamental to a good deal of early Conceptual art, though he himself came to dislike it ar.rd regardthe restriction to to languageas a medium as a form of idealism.In The Monurnents Passait oJ (r967), Smithson combined narrative,quotation and photogtaphy in a rranyJayered but disarmingly limpid account of a day'sactivity. He tells the story of purchasinga film and heading out by bus from NewYork with his Instarratic camerato his birthplace, the industrial town of Passaic in New Jersey,There proceedsto he photograph industrial sitesas if they were anti-heroic monuments to a dying industrial modernity (fig.4r).The banal photographs and the flat descriptivetext, encompassing specificationfrom the box of fllm as well as the a smuggled in critique of modernist painting in the guise of a commentary on a newspaperreview of an Olitski exhibition that he readson rhe bus, all combine to produce a multiply transgressive work: transgressive the u..y of protocols Smithsont generationhad come to find limiting in modernisn. Smithson conciselyarticulated the perspectiveinforming a wide range of 'conceptual' loosely art practicesin a slightly later text of r972, written on the occasionof the Documenta exhibidon in Germany.Doram taV was^n e enonnous exhibition that has sornedaim to representthe bigh-water rnark of early Conceptual arr, rhe point at which it moved from being an oppositional, critical force, to a hegemonicpower on rhe international art scene. Smithson's contribution included a short text on the rheme of'culnrral confinement', noting how if the artist failed to look beyond the existing institutions of culture, then the avant-garde artist no lessthan the modernist-conservativc

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indeedbeyond.The effectswereregistered histories of art, of science in and of literature, in the emergentfield of cultural studies and in the social sciences, as well as in the practiceof art itsellTwo aspects particular arenoteworthy.By in no means logical bedfellows, they were nonethelesshistorically powerfully connected.On the one hand the period witnessedthe beginningsof the impact of French theory on English-languagecultural studies. It is not overstating the case saythat forms of analysis to indebted to Ferdinandde Saussurettheory of language the work of Roland Barthesbecamedominant acrossthe atts.The via 'signifiers'and'signifieds', 'signs','semiotics'(and terminology of later a host of 'difference') others from'deconstructiori to sin-rply becamethe linguaJrnnm of cultural debate.Accompanying this there was a leaning towards sociologism, which involved a shift in the focus of interestfrom'text'to'context'.Thus the socialhistory of art mounted a critique of modernism'sexclusive focus on the vtsual efects the work of art itself, emphasisinginstead the constellation of of social muses of which it was made. At this time there also aooeareda scrout c a l l e d ' s o c i o l o g yI k n o w l e d g eA n d o '. particularly significant was a developrnent in the philosophy of science associated 'paradignr w i t h T . S .K u h n ' s o t i o n o f n revolutions'. Kuhn argued that scientific knowledge did not progress cumulatively, brick by brick, truth by truth, but through a series of leaps.Certa:incrucial breakthroughs w o u l d s c ra n a g e n d ah a rs u b s e g u e n t r scientiststhen continued to explore. Eventually however,anomalous experimental results would appear,which over time began to threaten the system's overallcoherence. After a period of u n c e r t a i n td u r i n gw h i c hr h c s y s l c r n y underwent fundamentalquestioning,a'paradigm shift'would occur.A new agenda would emerge, and scientificpracticewould be rcconfiguredto provide experimentalanswers a new set of questions.Kuhnt theory thus introduced to a measure relativisminto the field of scientificknowledge.As such,it was of immediatelysubjectto question and qualification in the philosophy of scrence itself because the powerful connectionbetweenscientificknowledgeand the of 'truth'. concept of However,in the cultural field Kuhnt theoreticalrevisionhad a pronouncedimpact, seemingas it did to lend support to an emerging,and relativismof values. pervasive, Art & Languagetended to be scepticalof the fashion for French theory, instead drawing heavily on the analytical tradition in philosophy. But Kuhnt theory of paradigm shifts seemed be instantly applicableto art, a liberating to deviceto tl-rink through the changethat Conceptual art was making to the foundational assumptionsof previouslyexistingmodern art. An essay by Atkinson and Baldwin, published rn Studio Internatlonal t97o, exploredthe in consequences Conceptual art's shift awayfrom what wasdefined asthe of

4l Robert Smithson The Fountain Monument Bitd's EyeView fromMonuments of Passaic 1967 Photograph TheNational lvluseum of Contemporary Art, 0slo

42 Art& Language lndex01 1972 Photograph of l n s t a l l a t ia tnh e ot G a l l e r N a t i o n ade ie lu J e u eP a u m e , a r i s , d P 1994

'tre ur Sul1laporu ueqt rJour sarlnbrt {.torrq 'Surlts tnoqtl4 sao8r1 'PIro.&t qrns ,, uorttrrrJoJsuJtE rllns tql '.la,ra.tlot1 'plJo.&t alit uI ssrusnoltsuol-jlrs Jo uortrnpord oqr eruanpul urlr sdeq;odputl ']lE aaoqe'a.trtruSol Irlrtrrl Jo tururratlqrt rql algeu? utt tgt orrDtrd Frlos 'lrrlrgrssode st uado 'lef,rtrrr pupl e dltrruorod st tr Jo Jo rarrruor ot sr lI tng ururual tou lLIS[u fr]rrltsrr arp Jo rsurs prulJoJsurr E reqt ls or rou sI slrll 'uolletlalaP 'rorltn ,lltsltr, ]npl^lpui u Jo rrnpord :qr sr paprt8ar rg rou lrtrl-[]s? sasod"rnd;o;srralgo atru5 uI rnssl of a^tq JrLItIruplno,{L tI ;o 'rpns sy 'srrrnosrr ro Ierntlnl-rtlndod ua,ro rrtsrnSurlJerrqdosolrqd;o lrorrca rlltlrlJof t 'stutdnrl;ed srl Jo uolfesraluo:) e lg paunogur ,arrtrr;d Ietrrtaroaqt" ttlt Jo tno prtntltsuor )guat a)rf)etd t.re8uro8-uo ue sdtqtad lrser slril ltru ure.r.rat ;o drru tuaraglp e put 'puadop suosr.redruolrsor{l aqt u1 'o8.rorua

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There havebeen severalexamplesin the history of modern art of projects that have attempted to imagine a transformed world. The most obvious are those associated with the Soviet Constructivistsof the rgzos,though there havebeen others. But international capitalism was not consigned to history after the BolshevikOctober. Neither did the radicalismof the late r96osand r97oslssue in any fundamental political transformation. Writing as earh as 1973,Lucy Lippard lamented the absorption of the radical impulses of Conceptual art: the way that evensheetsof typewritten paper were being exchangedas commodities on the art market, and that leading conceptualists had built successfulcareerswithin the existing market structure. Ian Burn wrote in r98r that'perhaps the most significantthing that can be said to the credit of '. Conceptual art is that rtJailrd In that sense,how could it not, given the failure of the'counter-culture'of which it was a part?And yet generalised despitethe bedrock of capitalismremaining in place,history doesmove;social and cultural changeoccurs. In a more limited sense,Conceptual art was part of a significant change.One of the key featuresof the development of Conceptual art in the r97os wasits increasing politicisation. For some,including Burn, this meant that Conceptual art was transitional: transitional out of art as such, into a wider field of engagedcultural practice beyond the structures of the art world, in publishing, television, community or trade union-related activity. But for issuedin a change to others,the developingsense a politics of representation of the conception of art itself, a changesummed up in Hal Fostert remark that the postmodernist artist waslessa producer of objectsthan a manipulator of

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range of objects,photographs, books and films. Begun in r968 and shown ur rts final form at DorrnnntdV rn ry72, the deviceof the fictional 'Museum of Eagles' was in essence simple. Beginning with postcardsof nineteenrh-cenrury academicp:rintings,Broodthaerspainstakingly amassed repertoire of imagcs a drawn from popular culture and advertising.Selectingthe eagleallowed for a myriad of representations connoting the rich culrural mythology srrrrounding

45 I\4amel Broodthaels Mus'e d AttModene, D6panenentdes Aigles,Section Publicit67912 nstallatofat DocunentaV,Kassel, Germany

46 Janisfounellis

:,;,, ':., .

Holses/1969 I n s t a l a t i o nG a l e i a at fAttico, Rome

47 lvladoI\,leE bedone?)1969 gass, l',4eta iubes, plaster, bunches of twigs 150x250x320 (59 x 987. 136) x

the featheredpredator: national slmbol, martial symbol, symbol of fortitude, of perceptior.r, metaphor for genius,etc. By collecting togerher thesevarious representations, Broodthaersproduced, in efl]ect, second-orderrepresenracion a - not of a lot of birds,but of a clas.ificrrory sysrcm t4ork.Of course, ar eagles connote various characteristics, we haveseen:valoug power, etc.They also as

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that underlay much of the new art. The point, perhaps, is rol ro insist on separatingthe fwo aspects:that Arte Poverat enduring inrerest lies precisely in r h e i rc o m b i n a t i o n .

Artists active in placeswhere there actually was a guerrilla war going on found the situation tended to demand rarher more directly political responsesthan those that sufficed for the radical avant-gardes North America andWestern in Europe. Lucy Lippard dated her own politicisation from a trip to South America in November 1968whereshe encountereda group of artists in Rosario working in conjunction with the Argentinian labour union, the CGT (ConJederad6n Ceneral delTrabajo, General Confederation of Labour). For or historical reasons do with the extremelyconstrictedspacefor proper to political debate,vanguard art in Latin America becamea forum for culturalpolitical interventions. These ranged from the Media-AnManlfesto, published in BuenosAires in July ry66, which promised to distribute misinformation about art in the massmedia in order to underline the implication of arr in publicity and news, to increasinglypolitical demonstrations at maior exhibitions such as the C6rdoba Biennale. Thoush the term 'Conceptual a r r w a sn o r . - p l o y . d r o d e s c r i b e it until the rg7os,nonetheless this art has come to be positioned retrospectively a key part as of a'global conceptualism'. the words of In Mari Carmen Ramirez, Latin American conceptualismwasnot a'reflection, derivation or replica of centre-based conceptualart', but represented, rather,a seriesof'local responses to the contradictions posed by the failure of post-WoddWar II modernisation projects and the artistic models they fostered in the region'. Indeed, for Ramirez, thrs art was oriented from the start upon issuesin the wider public sphere,rather than on the institution of (modernist) art itself, and as such may be said to have'clearly anticipated'the political turn in merropolitan vanguardart during the r97os. The work that Lippard encounrered Rosario is a casein point. Since the in mid-r95os,artistshad beenfacedby an apparentfailure of art institurlons to address situation of increasing a political repression and censorship. This came to a head around eventsin the province of Tircamin, where government econornic policies had resulted in massunemployment and hardship. Conditions wereexacerbated the censorshipof informarion in rhe mass by media about conditions in the province.By 1968, about thirty arrisrswere engaged a joint project with the union ro research on and publiciseconditions there.This work culm inated in the exhibitio n Tummdn Arde(Tircaman Burns), installed in the CGT premisesin Rosario.It has been describedby Alex Alberro as'an all-encompassing interior environment',in which visitors were conf,ronted a multi-media installation of text-basedinformation in the form by of slogans, leafletsand posters,aswell aslarge-scale photographs and film

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Unolicial artists in the Soviet Union had a dilferent, but equally cor.rtradictory relationship to the Western avant-garde. Whereas in Larin America artrsrs tended to be resistar-rt stylesof art that were deemedto be representative to of Western imperialism, unoficial artists in the Soviet bloc tended to embrace 'expressionist' Western individualism as part of their rejection of Socialist Realism.This did not changer-rntilthe emergence the'Moscow of Conceptualisrs'in the r97os.Once again,the name was a retrospectivelabel applied by the critic Boris Groys in 1979.Eric Bulatov and the Komar and Melamid duo developeda hybrid form of painting, basedin equal parts on Soviet Socialist Realism and American Pop, to probe the representational conventionsof ofilcial Soviet ideology. Ilya Kabakov adopted a different strategy owing more to developmentsin Western Conceptual art, mixed in with

50 ll! Kabakov Caryingaut the Slop Pail7980 p E n a m e l o rl f r o o d 150x210 \59%x82X) EmanuelHoffmann Foundation, on h0 P e r m a n e n t l 0 atn te l\4useum of porary Contem Art, Basel

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52 Addan Piper catalysis]v 1970 I performance, StIeet NewYorkCity

the experience his oficial careeras a children'sbook illustrator. In the early of ficdonal character, artist. The deviceconferred an ability ro reDresenr an different avant-gardistschools,aswell as cticical commencaryupon rhern, w i t h i n r l r es c o p e f r h c w o r k :. r ni n \ t r n c co f a k i n d o f s e c . n d - o r d e rr r c r i c e , o p encompassing and going beyond first-order vanguardistgaml:its, not least through the disruption broughr to the conception of the 'aurhenric'authorial voice.The mix of image and text employedby Kabakov in the narratiye albums wasfurther developedin a seriesof larger paintings made in dre later r97os. These bore a resemblance ofilcial notice boards,or bureaucraticfornrs to blown up to a large scale.Carrying theSkpPdll(fig.5o)parodiesthe command out

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This was intended as a response the worseningpolitical situation in the to country, as exemplified by the shooting of students at Kent State University who had beenprotesting at the escalation the war in South-EastAsia. Piper's of letter of withdrawal was then incorporated into the notebooks constituting Context and Context #8 #9, respectivelysubtitled'Written Information Voluntarily Supplied to Me During the Period April 3o to May 3o t97o' and 'Written Information Elicited From Me During the Period of May r5 to June r5irgTo'.Piper later referredto the developmenttaking placein her work at that time as being'from my body as a conceptuallyand spatio-temporally immediate art object to my person as a genderedand ethnically stereotyped art commodity'.


a Create little sensation that Feeltheditreience errrronecin see Somethingpucm touch PrDperty nothingbtmch it Thereb You'vegotit 'fouvanttokeepit Naturaily Thatt consenation Itconserrs those whocarftharreit Theydont ${nt tobeconserwd L,ogicaltthatbcontradicfion

Ererphing you buy m1s smething about you Some things )Du bW say more thm you rEalise One thing 'ou buy sys erarything Property Eitler you harrcitoryou don't

On the other side of the Atlantic, the analyticaltenor of much British Conceptual art was being leavenedby the influx of French theory in the early r97os.1967had witnessedthe English translation of Roland Barthes's Elements oJ 'The Semiologt well ashis influential essay as on Death of the Author'. His book of essays Mlthologtes belatedly appearedin English in ry72, containing his famous analysis the different levelsof meaning contained in a photograph, of in particular the way in which a constructedimagemay set offunconscious chainsof connotation in the viewer,the more so if the imageappearsenrirely natural. For some time,'critical'conceptualistshad beenmoving rowardsan awareness not jl-rstart, but the broader registerof'the visuaf in generalas a of,, major site of the socialproduction, and reproduction, of meaning. No one took ideology-critique and semiotics on board more comprehensively thanVctor Burgin. In a seriesof works, he moved from generalmeditatronson

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things'. Despite the fact that Berlin was fox', who knew'many smal1 addressingthe contrasting merits of Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky, the a conceit might be seento allegorise differencebetweenmodernism is one not many') and a Marxist approachattentlve (Greenberg:'aesthetic value of to the contingencies a socialpracticein history. In terms of its published as contents TheFoxhad a broader remit than Art-Language, well as a more emphatically political tone.The following year,TercyAtkinson left the English group, initially working as a video artist, then turning to the production of drawings and paintings of explicitly political content on themes ranging from the FirstWorld War to the confict in the north of Ireland.Those who remained functioned as a kind of grit in the a m a r r m a c h i n e , a i n t a i n i n g n u n r e m i ti tn g of both for the political enthusiasms scepticism, the NewYork group around TheFox,and to English artists and intellectualswhosepoliticised practice bore the stamp of French theory. English Art & Language viewedpolitical conceptualism, indeed the waveof radicalised intellectual activity acrossthe field of cultural studies, with suspicion, as representing social control by a new layerof cultural managementrather than a genuinely transformationalpractice(fi g.le).

The uol.I, no.1-, Fox, r975 York Published New in

Art& Language Posterc7977 frcmTen on Silkscreen paper 108x 80 (42%x31%l

57 Combined Unions Against Racism / Gregor Cullen and Redback Graflx TheWorkplace No ls 1985 Placefor Racism Poster Sydney

TRnrusmonru PRAcrrcE
Out of this contestedhistory emergedactivities that were more akin to Ian Burnt senseof Conceptual art as'transitional'(seep.54).Many were moving beyond the practice of art as such with its galleries,dealersand avowedlybourgeois sociallocale,into a more diffuse,harder-tocategoriserealm of radical cultural practice, often working in conjunction with community groups, trade unions and so on. In the US, exilesfrom the disintegrated group arollnd TbeFox, including and Michael Corris, Carole Cond6, Karl Beveridge Herring,another journal with an others, setup Rcd avowedlyradical agenda,and working, in Corris's ohrase.'in the milieu of left and ultra-left "mass" organisationsand Maoist :(pre-partf" formations'. In Edinburgh, Dave Rushton and myself, among others, continued with the Srlool project by initiating the to design and produce posters,leafletsand brochures School Press.This worked for rank-and-filetrade union groups, campaignorgarisationssuch as Rock Against Racism,and political bodies including the SocialistWorkersParty.As NewYork Art & Languagebroke up, Ian Burn himself left the US and returned to Australia, pardy encouragedby the potential opened up by the election of the and socialistWhitlam government. Burn was activein Union Media Services,

FOLLOWING PAGE: DOUBLE 55 Hans Haacke Shapolsky al. et Manhattan Estate Real Holdings: Real-Time A Social System, of as May1, 1971(dehnl 1577 Photographs and typewritten sheets data photograph Each ( 5 0 . 8 1 9 . 1 2 0x 7 % l x Courtesy theartist of

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everyonefelt they had to evacuate territory of art to sustain a defensible the critical practice. A casein point is the work of Harrs Haacke.In his earlier work, Haacke had rnovedftom setting up kinetic systemsfor the circulation of liquids through tubes, or the continually repeatedprocessof production and subsequent evaporationof condensationwithin a closedglasscube, to more open systems involving birds feeding and grassgrowing. By r97o he had turned to social systems,As we haveseenwith Piper, the art world's responseto the war in South-East Asia had been increasing,and on zz May tie NewYork Art Strike organisedby the ArtWorkers Coalidon - involved picketing the Metropolitan Museum. As his contribution to the Museum of Modern Artt lnJormation show that summer, Haacke installed a kind of votirg booth 'Yes' 'No' consisting of two and boxesunderneath a wall-mounted question: 'Would the fact that Governor Rockefeller hasnot denouncedPresidenr Nixon's Indochina policy be a reasonfor you not to vote for him in November?' Rockefellerwas,of course,a luminary of the Museum aswell as governor of NewYork. Two-thirds of those who took part in Haacke's poll voted'Yes'. Haacket next planned show was to havebeen .l1s tefit,at the GuggenheimMuseum, NewYork, in April r97r.The major new piece was to havebeen a photo-text documentation of what Haacke called A Ie al-Tine Sotial Slstem.This was to haveconsistedof the real estateholdings on Manhattan of 'Shapolsky et ali, slum landlords engaged the exploitation of in predominantly African-American and Puerto Rican communities (fig,5&). The proposal elicited frorn the Guggenheim authorities a statementof what was consideredto be the boundary of acceptability for a political dimension of art, a boundary that Haacket work clearly overstepped.Themuseum director's statement acknowledgedthat'art may havesocial and political consequences', argued but that theseshould be produced'by indirection and by the generalised, exemplary force that works of art may exert upon the environment', and not, asHaacke proposed,'by using political meansto achievepolitical ends'.Haacke's deliberateblurring of the boundary betweenpolitics and art was simply too much for a culture whose oficial ideology of art centred around its independence, howevermuch that supposedindependence might be compromised by the status quo itsellThe upshot was that the exhibition was foreclosed,its prospectivecurator dismissed,and Haa&e becamethe figureheadof politicised Conceptual art. Haacke got his own back in 1974by producing a piece detailing the business

59 Hans Haacke oneof seven individually1larned panelstrcm ABrced paft7918 A Photographs paper on aid on boafd p E a c h a n e9 1 x 9 1 (35%x 5%) 3 Tate

60 Maftha Rosler Kitchen7975 Stillfrom black and (6 white video rninutes) Coudesy theartist of

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intoning their names and miming their use.By the end, however,she is brandishing the knife, acting out the frustrations of an identiq, confined by t r a d i r o n a lg e n d e r - d e f i notn . i ii Among those who drove home the implications of a non-medium-specific Conceptual art for reflectionson wider questionsof representation and identity-construction was Mary Kelly. As well as building on both the social interventions of Haacke and the identity-related work of Piper, Kelly has commentedon how shepicked up on some of the potential of the Art & Languagelndex installations, or more particularly on what she saw as therr 'The absences: significanceof the relation between the psychic and the social was made obvious to me by its absence Art & Language in work . . . I saw that space as being openJHer Post-Partum Document (TSZTS) remains a definitive statement on the interleavingof the psychicand the social. While shewasworking on it, however, Kelly was also involved in a more conventionally'political'project

61 Margaret Harrison, Kay FidoHunt,Mary Kelly Women atWorklgTS lnstallation at L n S o u t h o n d oG a l l e r y

o2 Mary Kelly 0neof eight individually panels framed from

Post-Partum Docunent (Documentation lV): Trcnsitional objects, diaryand diagram 7976 plaster Paris Collage, of andcotton withtyped text P a n e li z e 7 . 9 3 5 , 6 s 2 x (11x14) Kunsthaus Zlirich

Mary Kelly 0neof thirteen individually framed panels from PostPaftum Document (Documentation lll): Analysed markings and diary-perspective schema 7975 pencil, Collage, crayon, chalk printed and 0ragrams paper 0n P a n e li z e 8 . 5x 3 6 s 2 (ll%x741") Tate

documenting the historical situation of women in the workforce. Women atWork (fig.er) by Margaret Harrison, Kay Fido Hunt and Kelly was an installation of photographs, documents and sound tapes comparable to the Tucamin Burns installation and the Australian Art &Working Life project. It occupied the border areabetweenhistorical-political documentation(with its roots in the Mass Observationwork of the r93"s) and a contemporaryConceptual art installation.This undecideablitvis part of its character. Kelly's Post-Partum Dorummtiik.*ir. built on the presentational devicesof conceptualism to produce a work that challengedconventional senses the of appearance unity of the work of art (figs.5z-3).Its subjectwas ostensibly and very different from the world of industrial work, except that for Kelly the piece was very much about the sexualdivision of labour in sociequ. The work is in six parts, consistingof over a hundred individual'plaques'tracingher son's evolution from birth through to the acquisition of languageand the ability to

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Tns LecncY
Various techniquesand strategies associated with Conceptual art havebecome pervasivein contemporary art. JennyHolzert employment of languageis one. Sherrie Levinet photographic critique of originality is another.Cindy Sherman'splay with identiq' is yer anorher.The use of text and photograph made by Barbara Kruger is inconceivablewithout Conceptual art. And so on. The work of many artists is underwritten by a politics of difference.That of many others is focusedon the social and institutional production of meanrng. These two strandshavejointly renderedhistorical both the essentialism and the autonomy-claims of modernist theory, no less comprehensivelythan modernism itself once consignedthe ethos of the academy history to (although just as the ghost of classicism continued to haunt the modern movement, the spectreof aestheticvalue is present at the feast of postmodernism).It would, however, unfortunare ro closea book on be Conceptual art with the implication that its principal legacy was one of an ethically over-secure and humoudess political correcrness.on the other hand it would be equally inappropriate to celebrateat face value the kind of claim we havealreadyencountered that'Conceptualism has becomeall-pervasive not if dominant in the art world'. In one sense perhapsit has.In response to uncomprehending presscriticism of his work, Damien Hirsr remarked in zooo that,'I dont think the hand of the artist is important on any levelbecause you are trying to communicate an idea'.The 'idea' rather than the hand-crafted object has become the common currency of international contemp orary at:t. But that artt relationship to its institutional conrext is 6r more securethan was

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At any given time, most of the art that gets produced is not very interesring. This was astrue of conceptual art as it is of contemporarypostmodernism,or as it was of academicart. In the past, natural wastagehas taken care of that. But as the institution of art has becomein{lated in -oJernWesrern socieg/,and as investment in it - both cultural and directly financial - has multiplied, it becomeslessand lesseasyto tell when the Emperor is wearinghis new clothes. Conceptual art's greateststrength is that it was,perhaps brie{ly, an episode againstthe grain of all this. Certain arrists, asartists, took on the responsibility of checking over the kind of thing art was,rhe kind of insritution i, *"r, ".rj the kind of role it fulfilled in modern society.It is, I feel, quite misaken to conflatethis kind of critical pracricewith the eclecticismthat is the most noticeable feature of art at the turn of the twenty-first century. In some respects' conceptual art may be responsible ihis, for having broken d.own for the barriersof the media out of which art is thought capableof being made. But in other senses is nol I havemenrioned the impact thatT,S. Kuhn's ir theory of paradigm revolutions made on the development of Conceptual art. Kuhn atgued that most of the time scienceprogressedcumulatively, until anomaliesbuilt up and the whole structure was shakenup and a new period of normality commenced.Thesalientfeatureof most of the art to which the term 'conceptualism'is applied,whether positivelyor negatively, that it is, so to is speak,'normal science'. is the way things arenow, just as academicart was in It the middle of the nineteenrh cenrury and just as modernism was in the middle of rhe twentieth. Hyperbole and utopianism aside,there is a sense which Conceprualart in wasafotrn of guerrilla action againstrhe powers that be, in the shapeof institutionalisedmodernism in both the marketplaceand the colleges wherearr was taught and reproduced. Mel Ramsden once remarked that Conceptual art waslessabout putting writing on the wall than ir wasabour a spirir of scepticismand irony. If 'conceptualism'has indeed becometh. .tat,r, quo of a bloated contemporary art world, then arguably it shareslesswith the spirit of historical conceptual art rhan it does with the modern academyfrom which those artists took their distance. Nowadays,in a period of pervasive 'globalisation we seemalways be hearingrhat'we are all capitalistsnow'to liberalcapitahsts,of course.By the sametoken, culturally we are all supposed to be postmodernists.At the closeof Georgeorwell's parableof fru.trat"d revolution, AnimalFarm(tg+s), the animalslook through the windows of the house where their leaders,the pigs, are dining at rhe same rable as the human farmers:
As the animals outside gazedat the scene, seemedto them that something strange it washappening. what wasir rharhad altcrcdin rhe laces, what wasir th"r r""-.d io be melting and changing? No question now, what had happened. The crearures outside looked from pig to man, and from man ro pig, and from pig to man again; but it was alreadyimpossible to saywhich waswhich. No doubt, critical arr continues to be made. But only in an orwellian it be maintained that'we are all conceptualists now'. sense can


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Orazio Bacci, Milm The Anthony zr

Gopvnreur Gneors
The publishers have made every elfort to trace all the relevant coplright holders. We apologise for any omissions that might have been made. Beuys, llroodthaers, Duchamp, Haacke, Kabakov, Manzoni: O DACS zooz Buren, Magritte: O ADAGP


1; d'Offay Gallery

47; Kunstsmmlung Nordrhe in-Westfale n, Dii'sseldorf / photo Walter K1ein, DiiLsseldorf 47, 58 (top); Charles Harrison 44 (top);The Menil Collection, Houston / photo Hickey Robertson,Houston 8;The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NewYork O 1987/ photo LyntonGardiner 3o; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles / photo Squids and Nunns r8 (left); Museum of Conteinporary Art, San Diego, @ r966-8 John Baldessari / photo Philip Scholz Ritterman 3z; O zoot The Museum of Modern Art, NewYork 16, r8 (right), 1,1 (top);The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, photo Ben Blackwell zo; Oellentl che Kunstsammlung, Basel / photo Martin Brihler 6z; OYoko Ono / Lennono Photo Archive zz; O Edward Ruscha 196146; Seth Siegelaub/@1969Seth Siegelaub38;photo @ Fred Scruton 681

*o DACS' London l::: Dibbets, Kosuth, LeWitt, Morris, Naumann,Weiner: O ARS, NY and DACS, London zooz Olitski: O DACS, London andVAGA, NewYork zooz Rauscht'nberg: Robert @ Rauschenberg DACS, / London andVAGA,New York zooz Smithson:O E.t"t" of I{obert Smithson / VAGA, NewYork and DACS, London zooz