Concept art

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Conceptual art ( English conceptual art or concept art ) is a term coined in the 1960s by the American artist Henry Flynt for a modern art movement.


Originally coming from minimalism , concept art ultimately stands as a collective term for a further development of the tendencies in abstract painting and for different art movements such as object art or happenings , which consider the idea of ​​the meaning of a work of art to take priority over its realization.

Mel Bochner's first exhibition in 1966 “Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to Be Viewed as Art” in the gallery of the School of Visual Arts in New York is considered the first exhibition of the conceptual art movement. In 1969, the first museum conceptual art exhibition in Germany took place at the Morsbroich Museum in Leverkusen .

The execution of the work of art is of secondary importance and does not have to be carried out by the artist himself. The focus is on concept and idea, which are considered to be of equal value for the artistic work. In this sense, instead of finished pictures and sculptures, there are sketches, documents, instructions or, under certain circumstances, artist books that develop their own aesthetic qualities. One of the goals is the “dematerialization” of the work of art and the involvement of the viewer. Familiar perspectives, terms and contexts of the world are questioned, new rules are invented. We work with contexts, meanings and associations .

Conceptual art theorists are Mel Bochner , Sol LeWitt , Art & Language , Joseph Kosuth and Victor Burgin . Marcel Duchamp was an artistic role model for this movement . He distinguished his art from “ retinal art”, which predominantly (for example, gimmicky) has an effect on the eye instead of acting as an idea or connection of meaning in thought. This approach often makes conceptual art appear elitist, brittle and difficult to access to the layman. Some works of conceptual art only become accessible through the examination of the artist and his thinking.

A wide variety of avant-garde movements in the 1960s, such as painting by Robert Ryman , the photo books by Ed Ruscha , the sculptures by Carl Andre , Robert Morris or Robert Smithson, and also Happening , Fluxus and Viennese Actionism were immediate and often confusingly similar forerunners of Conceptualism.

Among other things, through the influence of art magazines such as Artforum and Avalanche, Parachute, Flash Art, Art Press, groups of conceptualists quickly emerged in America and Europe who were oriented towards New York and yet formed independent regional centers, such as San Francisco in North America, Los Angeles, San Diego, Vancouver and Toronto.


Concept artist from A – Z


See also


  • Sol LeWitt: Paragraphs on Conceptual Art . In: Artforum , Vol. 5, No. 10, Summer 1967, pp. 79-83
  • John Chandler, Lucy Lippard : The Dematerialization of Art . Art International, February 1968
  • Sol LeWitt: Sentences on Conceptual Art . In: Art & Language: The Journal of Conceptual Art . Vol. 1, May 1969, pp. 11-13
  • Gerd von der Osten: Art of the Sixties . Cologne 1970
  • Walter Aue : Projects, concepts, actions . Cologne 1971.
  • Klaus Groh (Ed.): If I Had a Mind: Concept-art, Project-art . DuMont, Cologne 1971 ISBN 3-7701-0571-0 .
  • Klaus Honnef : Concept Art . Cologne 1971. ISBN 3-87635-035-2 .
  • Avalanche: Conceptual Art , No. 4, Spring 1972
  • documenta 5th survey of reality - pictorial worlds today . Catalog (as a file folder) 2 volumes (material, list of exhibits). Kassel 1972
  • Klaus Groh: Etc: theses, slogans, concepts, ideas . Maro Verlag , Gersthoven 1972. ISBN 3-87512-018-3
  • K. Hoffmann: Art in the head. Aspects of real art . Cologne 1972
  • Marion Seifert: Web 2.0 "Identity": Internet and conceptual art , net conceptual art by Ralph Ueltzhoeffer, German National Library: ISBN 978-3-00-036999-5 , 2001–2011.
  • Paul Maenz, Gerd de Vries (ed.): Art & Language. Texts on the phenomenon of art and language . Cologne 1972
  • Catherine Millet : Textes sur l'art conceptuel . Paris 1972
  • Gregory Battcock (Ed.): Idea Art . Dutton, New York 1973. ISBN 0-525-47344-0
  • Lucy R. Lippard: Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972 . Praeger, New York 1973
  • Gabriele Guercio (Ed.), Joseph Kosuth : Art after Philosophy and After: Collected Writings, 1966–1990 MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1991, ISBN 0-262-11157-8 .
  • Charles Harrison: Essays on Art & Language. Blackwell Publishers, 1991, ISBN 978-0631164111
  • Thomas Dreher : Conceptual Art in America and England between 1963 and 1976 . Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-631-43215-1 (dissertation Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität).
  • Documenta archive (ed.): Follow-up d5. A survey of the archive on documenta 1972. Cantz, Ostfildern 2001, ISBN 3-7757-1121-X .
  • Charles Harrison: Conceptual Art and Painting: Further essays on Art & Language. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2001, ISBN 978-0262582407
  • Daniel Marzona, Uta Grosenick: Conceptual Art. Taschen, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-8228-2959-5 .

Web links

Commons : Conceptual Art  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The Times Literary Supplement, August 6, 1964, p. 688: "Henry Flynt concept art".
  2. Essay on Concept Art.
  3. more Conception Conception now , exhibition Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, 2015
  4. 13 issues of this influential journal published, New York, 1970–1976; Primary information reprint