Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

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3uGH7D4MLj
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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » December 27th, 2017, 10:43 am

Hereandnow wrote:
December 26th, 2017, 10:45 pm
If it is art you are enjoying, then it is not a conceptual experience; if it is conceptual, then it is not art.
I posted last week: All art is conceptual to some extent, it doesn't seem so unusual that some artists would try to isolate this aspect, and still call it art. They are artists after all.

Do you stand by this statement?
fair to say

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Hereandnow » December 27th, 2017, 11:07 am

3uGH7D4MLj

Did you read the Stanford article? Seems pretty well argued.

You never give examples of the artworks which you object to.

What about an art work which expresses no idea at all, and contains no physical object? Marina Abramovicz, "The Artist is Present," NYC Museum of Modern Art, March 14–May 31, 2010. She sat across a table from people. This work has been made into a feature length film.

What about artworks which the artist describes, which are then produced by students or tradespeople? A whole floor of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is devoted to Sol LeWitt's Work.
It's a conceptual argument, and for the most part it does not target the merit of conceptual artworks. It's an argument that says, because conceptual art is an oxymoron, we need ask ourselves, when we are observing a work of art and our minds are thinking, interpreting, understanding ideas, and we are not appreciating form and the visible features, have we not stepped out of the world of artistic appreciation into one of thought and concepts? If this is ok, then what does this say about art and standards of aesthetics? Clearly, one has to admit, that when I stand before Duchamp's urinal or Joseph Kosuth's chair, and expert is explaining the art's explanation, there is a question that presses forward: Am I experiencing art?

As to Stanford's definition, I am not so much interested. What the artworld declares as art presupposes what is at issue.

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » December 27th, 2017, 12:40 pm

"because conceptual art is an oxymoron," this is the starting point of your argument?

If an artwork delivers a concept, your art experience shuts down somehow? Art appreciation doesn't involve thought and concepts? Isn't appreciating form and visible features conceptual, thoughtful, cognitive? When you think of Van Gogh's painting of St Paul's Asylum, and you imagine him living there, and being out on the lawn laying on the paint, you've stopped appreciating art? When you notice the tortured trees, aren't these concepts?

It's the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, not the art world.
fair to say

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Hereandnow » December 27th, 2017, 1:30 pm

3uGH7D4MLj

Now you're talking. But take the time to read more closely what I said. You haven't:

"Conceptual art, I say, does not designate art that requires thought, or requires some reference to interpretative theory or structure of ideas. It (rather)designates art that is very short on visual presence, and long on conceptual content, and the more the latter dominates the less art it is"

It's not about rejecting all that we call art. It is about whether conceptual art, is by definition, really art at all. The genre is given the name because these artworks primarily are supposed to present ideas. You know, that's the point. And they can be stunning presentations. But if you go to the exhibition hall and stand before it, what you really enjoy is not a concept, in most or all you mentioned, but the evocative nature of the physical medium. If it were truly conceptual art, it would be a thesis.

Examples are too numerous to mention. A giant shoe, a sneaker in fact, was there on exhibit in Kwangju, South Korea. It was big, imposing and did have a striking, errr, excess in its presence. Awesome to look at, walk around. This is called conceptual art, but I fail to see why. The encounter was of the body, the imposing size loomed large in one's perceptual gaze, and yes, there was an question in the back of my mind, why a shoe? And the answer was simple: the irony of it. Shoes are not that big, nor are they part of the grandeur suggested by the exhibition's size. It was the irony, but beyond that,almost nothing conceptual going on here.

It's a challenge to the concept of conceptual art. If you think I'm wrong, then fine. More than fine. But consider what I say, not your convenient for rebuttal construal of what I say. In the end you might be more right than I am.

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » December 27th, 2017, 5:07 pm

Have a happy New Year HAN.
fair to say

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Hereandnow » December 27th, 2017, 5:22 pm

I yield. Thank you for that. Happy New Year 3uGH7D4MLj.

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Spraticus » December 30th, 2017, 12:13 pm

the whole thing is a category error. Saying that Marina Abramovich just being in the building is a work of art is the same as saying that bread is a form of sausage or a flower is a pair of scissors.

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Hereandnow » December 31st, 2017, 11:59 am

Spraticus:
the whole thing is a category error. Saying that Marina Abramovich just being in the building is a work of art is the same as saying that bread is a form of sausage or a flower is a pair of scissors.
I guess I would disagree with this. I think Marina Abramovich becomes art the moment you perceive her as such. The standard for determining what art is entirely depends on how it is taken, and if it is taken AS art, it is. Not unlike saying, in the building, my doesn't Marina look lovely. You could also have said, my what grace, or, what nerve she has coming here, and so on. Each occasion, brings a new interpretative standard.

As to an error in category, I would say if you're dealing with fitting flowers into the category of sausage, it does not work our well usually. You could imagine fashioning a flower into the shape of scissors, then drying them, petrifying them...but forget it. Can't meaningfully be done. But Marina Abramovich fits nicely into the category of art, as do, frankly, all things: anything can be taken as art.

Sausage can be taken as art, but not everything can be taken as sausage.

Anyway, categories are fluid things, and one often can be taken as something beyond the usual. A loaf of bread can easily be taken as a door stop or a plaything for a dog. Categorical errors occur only when the one excludes the other for the particular occasion at hand, or simply altogether.

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » January 1st, 2018, 8:49 am

Spraticus wrote:
December 30th, 2017, 12:13 pm
the whole thing is a category error. Saying that Marina Abramovich just being in the building is a work of art is the same as saying that bread is a form of sausage or a flower is a pair of scissors.
Well, it's not as simple as that. There was a theatrical set-up, a space cleared with furniture in the middle. Marina would come in the morning and sit, sometimes in red, sometimes in black or white, and she would silently interact with those who would take the other chair.

It's performance art, related to theater. The museum also had large rooms filled with photographs of her life's work, which I thought completely validated the tenuousness of the central piece. Your reaction I think is a natural one, and the piece is powered by that incongruity to some extent.
fair to say

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Spraticus » January 2nd, 2018, 3:48 pm

"It's performance art, related to theater." That is the problem. I don't object to it existing, I just object to it being called what it isn't.

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Burning ghost » January 3rd, 2018, 2:32 am

I think it is an oxymoron. But really, it is just a name of something people like to do (it just happens to have a rather obscure title.)

What is it? I guess it is something more like "visual philosophical abstraction." It is certainly a creative medium, but not everything that is creative can be called an "art". For example we don't call mathematics an art form, yet we may well say a good mathematician possesses something akin to "creative artistry", but not meaning that they create art, only apply their creative ability toward the production of abstract concepts.

To take the above approximation of how we can use the terms "creative" and "art" to describe what a mathematician does, we can then look upon the field of "conceptual art" as being about possessing and expressing abstract ideas through some physical medium and displaying it for people to address.

I watched a documentary a few weeks back about artists in London. One women travelled abroad and stole part of someone else's conceptual art and displayed it as "art". It was an interesting take on "art", and she was kind of asking the question through this "work" as to what makes "art" art?

For me it is nothing more than expressing a concept about a concept and putting aesthetics completely aside. For me "art" has to be aesthetic, and not accidentally of "aesthetic" value, like a flower or sunset.
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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Spraticus » January 3rd, 2018, 7:03 am

Burning ghost wrote:
January 3rd, 2018, 2:32 am
I think it is an oxymoron. But really, it is just a name of something people like to do (it just happens to have a rather obscure title.)

What is it? I guess it is something more like "visual philosophical abstraction." It is certainly a creative medium, but not everything that is creative can be called an "art". For example we don't call mathematics an art form, yet we may well say a good mathematician possesses something akin to "creative artistry", but not meaning that they create art, only apply their creative ability toward the production of abstract concepts.

To take the above approximation of how we can use the terms "creative" and "art" to describe what a mathematician does, we can then look upon the field of "conceptual art" as being about possessing and expressing abstract ideas through some physical medium and displaying it for people to address.

I watched a documentary a few weeks back about artists in London. One women travelled abroad and stole part of someone else's conceptual art and displayed it as "art". It was an interesting take on "art", and she was kind of asking the question through this "work" as to what makes "art" art?

For me it is nothing more than expressing a concept about a concept and putting aesthetics completely aside. For me "art" has to be aesthetic, and not accidentally of "aesthetic" value, like a flower or sunset.
I agree. I think part of the problem is how we use the word art. Unqualified, it tends to refer to the visual arts, drawing, painting sculpture etc., but with qualifiers it can be musical arts, decorative arts, theatrical arts or whatever. Each of these has its own conceptual and performance space although, of course, they can be combined in multiple ways. The problem with conceptual art is that it has invaded and to some extent taken over the space of visual art instead of making its own space. I strongly suspect that if it had tried to become its own thing in its own space it would have died long ago. It was able to get into visual art space because initially it was produced by visual artists and involved artifacts. In its early days, 1950s and 60s, the closely related performance art seemed to happen largely in gallery spaces rather than theatres for some reason, and there it has stayed.

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Greta » January 3rd, 2018, 7:09 am

Consider the boundary between visual and "conceptual" art. Visual art will necessarily have variable conceptual content and aesthetic appeal.

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Hereandnow » January 3rd, 2018, 11:53 am

Burning Ghost:
but not everything that is creative can be called an "art".
But why not?

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Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Spraticus » January 3rd, 2018, 11:58 am

Greta wrote:
January 3rd, 2018, 7:09 am
Consider the boundary between visual and "conceptual" art. Visual art will necessarily have variable conceptual content and aesthetic appeal.
I suspect that everyone here would agree that all art has some sort of conceptual content. The conceptual movement has chosen to accentuate that aspect, to the point that the artifact can be done away with in some cases. The aesthetic element however, could go into negative territory so "appeal" might be the wrong word. In other cases, such as switching a light off and on, the aesthetic content is elusive to a point close to invisibility. (As is the contribution of the "artist".)

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