Conceptualism: a good idea at the time.
Tuesday 08 August 1995
1958 Yves Klein presents Le Vide. He paints the gallery windows blue and the walls white. The gallery itself is empty.
1960 For Le Plein Arman fills Iris Cert's Paris gallery with truck-loads of rubbish.
Stanley Brouwen declares his art to be simply all the shoe shops in Amsterdam.
Early 1960s Artist Ed Kienholz is the first to use the term "Conceptual Art".
1961 Henry Flynt defines "Concept Art" as "an art of which the material is concepts", Robert Rauschenberg makes his Portrait of Iris Cert, a telegram with the words "This is a portrait of Iris Cert if I say so". Piero Manzoni fills 90 tin cans with his own excrement and sells them as Merda d'artista for the same price as gold.
1965 Joseph Kossuth creates "One and Three Chairs" from a chair, a photograph of the chair and a dictionary definition. Joseph Beuys presents How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare in a gallery in Dusseldorf. His head covered in honey and gold leaf, he mutters to a dead hare.
1966 For Still & Chew John Latham, a lecturer at St Martin's, borrows a copy of Clement Greenberg's Art and Culture from the college library. He invites friends to each chew a page of the book. The pulp is then spat into a flask where it is fermented with yeast. A year later he returns it to the library. He is dismissed.
1967 Sol LeWitt writes "In Conceptual Art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work... The idea becomes the machine that makes the art."
1968 John Baldessari exhibits Everything is purged from this painting but art, no ideas have entered this work. The words are written in acrylic on a bare canvas.
Art & Language, seminal British Conceptualist art group, is founded by Terry Atkinson, David Bainbridge, Michael Baldwin and Harold Hurrell. Their "Air Show" is simply a column of air.
1969 Joseph Kossuth, in his book Art after Philosophy quotes Donald Judd as saying: "If someone says it's art, it's art."
1969 Gilbert & George, as "the singing sculptures" with gold-painted faces, perform Underneath the Arches.
Robert Barry makes his Telepathic Piece in which he attempts to communicate a work of art by thought.
1971 Chris Burden, in Shooting Piece, asks a friend to shoot him in the arm. He loses a large chunk of flesh.
1972 Keith Arnatt exhibits Keith Arnatt is an Artist, a wall inscription, at the Tate.
In Los Angeles, Chris Burden wraps himself in a canvas bag and lies on a freeway. The work ends when he is arrested.
In Paris, the aptly named Gina Pane cuts her skin with razor blades and calls it art.
In Italy, for Seedbed, Vito Acconci masturbates beneath a ramp in a gallery.
In London, Stuart Brisley lies in a bath of black liquid for two weeks. He calls it And for Today, Nothing.
1974 In "A Note on Conceptual Art" in its annual report, the Tate Gallery justifies exhibiting conceptual works by defining Conceptualism as part of a tendency towards a greater awareness of the process of art and increased viewer participation.
In Belgrade Marina Abramovic allows herself to be physically abused for six hours. She calls the work Rhythm O.
1980s The emergence of Neo-Conceptualist art: Rebecca Horn, Jenny Holzer, Christian Boltanski, Robert Gober, Jeff Koons and others.
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To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
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