Talk:Conceptual art

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Anti Conceptual art links[edit]

Two links to anti conceptual art sites were deleted. These are relevant in an examination of conceptual art, particularly as anti conceptual art is also included in the article, so I have reinstated them. Any discussion on this can be held here.

Tyrenius 03:38, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

I think there is a real problem to be addressed in the way Emin and Hirst, and the backlash against YBA, feature so strongly at the end of this article. While the "Anti-Conceptual" section might have a place somewhere in this story, as it stands the comments and actions mentioned so far refer only to the backlash against YBA and those artists the Stuckists have deemed "conceptual", while the article itself sets out a definition of Conceptual art and criteria by which these very artists should be excluded (along with their detractors, by extension). This is clear because, a) the article identifies Conceptual art with a consistently negative or indifferent attitude to the art object, whereas it is the very materiality, the choice of object, of Hirst's, and particularly Emin's, art that, I would argue, so offends the sensibility of their critics, and, b) the article points to the central place that collaboration, discussion and social engagement held in the work of the Conceptual artists, whereas the YBA bonded over their dislike of theory and the over-intellectualisation of art, and thus their work is usually inward-looking and personal in nature.

This is a difficult issue because the Conceptual tag seems to have stuck to YBA, for whatever reason (could be the fault of the Stuckists), and so, though I'm tempted to remove all reference to them, it will be seen as an omission by many readers. And yet their presence in the article confounds much that it (correctly) sets out. Kramer J 20:50, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

I've retitled the section to make its contents clearer and also tied in YBAs more clearly at the end of the main text. I trust this solves the problem. It's quite clear from the inclusion of Massow and Howells that the issue extends beyond the Stuckists. In fact, I think it could easily be an article in itself. Obviously the term conceptual art has evolved in its use and has meant different things at different times to different people. As long as verifiable sources are given, these different uses can be shown. Tyrenius 21:42, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

I am a young British artist certainly much younger than Emin or Hurst, I have to say that I despise most conceptual art and view it as the domain of the establishment and those with no real talent. I not a stuckist either though and I believe it is misleading to suggest that anyone opposed to conceptual art is a stuckist. Rather the anticonceptual art movement is spawned by a wide variety of artists from different diciplines, some very innovative, who make all kinds of art but who feel oppressed by the domination of conceptualists in the art world (especially in the uK). In this respect I am glad that the anti conceptual art links have been left in as I believe that they are an important and relevant commentary on conceptual art and todays' art world. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

The article makes it clear that opposition comes from different people. Please contribute any information you have, as long as it can be backed up from a verifiable source, such as a newspaper. If you don't know how to use the footnotes system on wiki just put the reference in brackets or on this page. It's easier to use wiki if you get a personal user name (simple and free). Tyrenius 19:11, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

sure - I wasn't refering to the article but responding to comments made in this discussion. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Conceptual art was the first truly international avant-garde art movement, and perhaps the last of the great avant-gardes of the twentieth century; "Modernism's nervous breakdown", as Art & Language termed it. The anonymous editor who deleted the entire "Controversy in the UK" section is correct; the Turner Prize and UK public reaction to it is a parochial issue, a tabloid news media "beat up" that has become an annual ritual for the Murdoch press in the UK and its readership, irrelevant to the history and unfolding of the Conceptual art movement.

Unless legitimate counter-arguments by registered editors are lodged in this forum so that the issue may be seriously debated, I believe I have put enough arguments forward to support the deletion or removal (to another article?) of this section. Kramer J 10:09, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

User:Kramer's use of the adjectives "truly" and "great" is subjective and POV. Therefore, I don't have confidence in Kramer's judgment as to what is or isn't irrelevant.Lestrade 11:34, 7 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade
Those words are rhetorical, much as your use of the POV tag in the context of a discussion forum outside of the main article is rhetorical. I'm not asking you to trust my judgement, but to evaluate my arguments and mount some valid counter-arguments of your own in defence of the section in question, if you think it should stay. One would be hard-pressed to consider your perception of bias in my style of argumentation a valid measure of the correctness of what I say. Some research might be required as well. Kramer J 11:57, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Analysis of arguments for deletion of controversy section:

the Turner Prize and UK public reaction to it is a parochial issue
  • The Turner Prize is internationally renowned, reported and commented on. It is not parochial.
  • It takes place in London, one of the most important and influential art centres in the world: again not parochial.
  • UK public reaction is a valid phenomenon to report. The UK is not usually seen as a provincial location. Public reaction is part of the story of an art movement.
a tabloid news media "beat up" that has become an annual ritual for the Murdoch press in the UK and its readership
  • This is an argument for inclusion, not exclusion. The fact that this has become established as a staple part of the media, means it must be included to give a fuller picture.
  • Your information is inaccurate. It is reported by all the "broadsheets", not just the Murdoch-owned ones. See 2005 prize:[1][2][3][4]
  • Even a cursory examination reveals this is global news, reported (2005 examples) in Australia [5][6], New Zealand [7], Canada[8], and the US[9].
irrelevant to the history and unfolding of the Conceptual art movement
  • Wikipedia covers all aspects of a subject to inform the reader from a NPOV, which is a non-negotiable policy, along with VERIFY and NOR. I suggest a careful reading of them would be advantageous. The social context and public reaction is part of the history of an art movement, and needs to be covered, as it is, for example, in Impressionism.

The material is properly referenced, unlike most of the information in the article, which can therefore be removed, if any editor chooses to do so. I suggest it is more profitable to add to the article and reference it, rather than to battle for the removal of parts of it which properly belong. If any substantiation with references can be provided for the fact that public reaction to conceptual art is indeed "irrelevant to the history and unfolding" of it, then that statement can be included in the article, in addition to counter-views, but at the moment it remains pure POV.

Tyrenius 03:49, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Thank you Tyrenius for making some good points. However, I feel you misunderstand my arguments and that your attribution of POV is a little looose. All of my contributions are factual, NPOV and verifiable, and if I haven't verified something yet it is due to time constraints and not because I don't have references. My quibble with the section in question is precisely that it is the only POV section of the article. That's what is so disconcerting. If you're keen to leave it in, then I will indeed endeavour to add some balance, but I didn't want to have to go down that track. Up until that section, and the previous gratuitous Schopenhaur quote, the article is neutral, factual, and represents no bias (except for your latest addition, which is a matter I'll come to in a moment). And I have read the Wiki policies you've singled out, by the way.

I suggest you re-read this article that you cite [10]. Somehow you've summarised this whole article as:

The inception of the term in the 1960s referred to a narrow practice of idea-based art. Through its association with the Young British Artists and the Turner Prize during the 1990s, its popular usage, particularly in the UK, developed as as synonym for all contemporary art which did not practice the traditional skills of painting and sculpture.

The article actually says:

In the tabloid press in particular, ‘conceptual’ is used as a blanket term to describe any contemporary art, often in a derogatory fashion.

It also makes the point that the Turner prize is not a conceptual art prize, and that previous winners have had varied practices. Outside of the UK tabloid press, there is as yet no clear synonymity between "conceptual art" and contemporary art, so do we want to use this wiki to further legitimise the conflation of the two terms, particularly when the discourse from which the conflation derives is one of derision?

On the matter of POV, the characterisation of early conceptual art as "a narrow practice of idea-based art" can hardly be called a neutral description. It was the first wave of conceptual artists, after all, who blew art wide open, making it possible for artists like Hirst and Emin to even have a practice today. I wouldn't call what they were doing "narrow". Kramer J 18:34, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

I wonder if you misunderstand POV. The embargo applies only to wiki editors, namely that they should not themselves adopt a POV, but reflected the body of opinion and debate in the world accurately. Some of that opinion may be POV, but it is not our job to assess it on those terms, merely to reflect the fact that it exists, which this article does. To not give the reader that information would be a POV decision that we feel it is not suitable for some reason of our own, i.e. we would be censoring it. It exists. The article includes the fact that it exists. There is no editorial comment as to its worth or otherwise, which is the correct approach. Critics of the critcism can also be cited to show properly the nature of the debate, and maybe this should be done, i.e. Serota's Dimbleby Lecture, though even there he admitted the widespread nature of the opposition, while stating the need to spread enlightenment.
The association of conceptual art with non-traditional art practice, particularly involving found of adapted objects and new media, is by no means restricted to the UK, possibly because the UK exerts a wide influence, and art articles tend to be carried (as I have given refs for above) in other countries' media. You can't shut the stable door after the horse has bolted! I can't contemplate an anodyne article that pretends all is well in the world of conceptual art, when so much debate and contention is aroused in its name. Otherwise, the reader is going to be sorely let down by our researches. This is an encyclopedia, so should give a comprehensive view of the subject.
No, I haven't summarised the article in the way you've said. I have put the ref merely for the point "In the tabloid press in particular, ‘conceptual’ is used as a blanket term to describe any contemporary art", but please note that it specifies "in particular", as opposed to "exclusively", because it is used in the "broadsheet" (i.e. "quality") also, the difference being that the latter have dedicated art critics who are likely to be more discriminating in their terminology than the (more influential) news pages when these carry art stories. Again, if it's necessary to ref every single word, I'm sure I can do it, but, as you say, it's time. I think the ref validates the core point, but let's not get too heavy about refs or 90% of the article's going to get deleted. You might note that I have not chosen to include the word "derogatory" (but maybe I should to be more accurate to the original?).
The statement doesn't say the Turner Prize is a conceptual art prize. It says "through its association with", which is quite a different concept.
You could say that anything in wiki further legitimises something, in as much as it recognises that something exists, which is all that this article is doing. I find the "controversy" section is extremely restrained and merely states some bald facts. It is a small proportion of the whole and therefore not a distortion of the article. I might point out that I have also worked on the substance of the rest of the article to give it more strength and have exercised the same editorial judgement throughout. I don't see this section any differently. It all has to be viewed from a NPOV, rather as Christopher Isherwood's idea of "I am a camera". There is no more reason to leave out the controversy section, than there is to omit Leroy's criticism of Impressionism. This article needs to be about 3 times as long to do justice to the subject, and it would be far better to focus attention on including more material and organising it in a clear way that showed the development of the concept and its practitioners, as it is a fascinating story.
I accept your criticism of "a narrow practice" and my intention wasn't very well carried out. I meant it to be a compliment and a complement to the later usage of the term. I've changed it, but feel free to amend if you have a better phrasing. I would like to thank you for engaging in a robust dialogue, rather than an edit war, and I hope that we can go on (with our limited time) to enlarge and strengthen the article on that basis. I think an "antecedents" section would be extremely interesting where different evaluations of the concept in art (e.g. Schopenhauer) fed into the foundation of the movement, but that is probably beyond us at the moment.
Tyrenius 01:28, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

I have adjusted the "controversy" intro to remove what I regard as a tone of bias. It is not enough to simply report the existence of the backlash. By not adequately contextualising the use of the word "conceptual" as a term of derision in the UK and the origin of that usage in the tabloid media, you let the reader assume it is the consensus of scholarly opinion that "conceptual" is interchangeable with "contemporary" art. This is not the case. If colloquially the terms are interchangeable, then the fact it is a colloquial usage should be mentioned. Kramer J 03:37, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

I have no problem with your clarification. In fact, I think this is an area that should be developed in the article to show the development of, and differences in, usage. It is important to an understanding of the genre. I trust "media" covers it, as it's not restricted to what is seen as the "tabloid" press, but used by the likes of Tom Stoppard, Sir Simon Rattle etc. and all mass media, including TV and radio. I have no wish for this to be a reflection on the academic use of the term, but I would like to see that use also defined. If there is a reference, then the difference could be highlighted in the controvery section to avert such misunderstanding. The "backlash" was also fuelled by the Turner Prize - it wasn't an innocent bystander. The whole media backlash was encouraged and exploited to the hilt by the YBAs and Saatchi, and the Tate have done nothing to discourage the publicity. Tyrenius 04:48, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

All good and true, and I don't have problem with your edit. I think the article as a whole is the better for this productive debate. Kramer J 04:56, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

Absolutely. The history needs to be five times as long ideally, but I'm afraid I don't have time for it, and interested editors are thin on the ground for contemporary art. I'm still creating articles for Turner Prize nominees who don't have them (latest is Callum Innes). Tyrenius 06:39, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

The references to the UK YBAs are relevant. The term 'conceptual' is still perjoratively used in the UK press to describe all sorts of contemporary art. I understand that this may be a parochial concern, but it is certainly an advantage to allow UK users to understand the wider context.--Ethicoaestheticist 22:10, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I've copied most of the text about the YBAs to the Neo-conceptual art article, which previously had only a couple of sentences.--Ethicoaestheticist 17:28, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

History of Conceptual Art[edit]

I have added a quote by Joseph Kosuth which I feel is essential in establishing Duchamp's influence on later conceptual artists. Also, I concur with Kramer J that the omission of Kosuth in the timeline is appalling. I will attempt to add some artists and works in the timeline in later posts this Fall.
Mcameronboyd 04:08, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

It would be good to get more input into this article. Tyrenius 16:35, 14 August 2006 (UTC)


The word concept has more than one meaning. The most sensible being "that which is common to several perceptions." The word idea has many meanings, from mental images to metaphysical forms. Words are mere signs that designate concepts and ideas. Conceptual art mixes these ambiguities together. The resulting product is made manifest for the public's evaluation.Lestrade 18:08, 30 August 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

So it seems that no one is bothered by the description of Conceptual Art as both idea art and concept art. Everyone agrees, then, along with Sol LeWitt, that ideas and concepts are the same thing. It is a wonder why two different words are inefficiently used to designate the same thing. There are a few people who think that ideas are intuitive and that concepts are discursive. Intuitive would here mean that they are based on visual or other sensual perceptions. Discursive would mean that they are based on reasoned thought and dialogue. Do such pedantic distinctions belong in this Wikipedia article? If everyone is happy with idea art equalling concept art, then that is the level at which the article will remain. I guess that it wouldn't hurt to also call it notion art, while we're at it.Lestrade 18:08, 12 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

It is an interesting proposal to mount a critique of the first wave of conceptual artists based on their conflation of "idea" and "concept", though I'm not sure I entirely agree with your account of the distinction between the two terms. I don't really wish to debate that here, but it might be worth pointing out that the words are commonly interchangeable in everyday English usage, and thus it's not surprising that the early conceptual artists and writers adopted one, or both, without too much regard for a distinction between the terms. As you can see from the bibliography attached to the article, both labels were deployed in the earliest anthologies, although the word "conceptual" seems to have been more in favour, and this has stuck; nobody really calls it "idea art" anymore. The pertinent point is that both "idea art" and "conceptual art" were current labels during the early discourse of conceptualism, a fact of history rather than a significant theoretical issue for the early project of Conceptualism. However, some of the early writers did have a preference for one term over the other--they didn't all deem the words interchangeable--and I suspect you may find some discussion of their reasoning on this in the primary source material. Kramer J 14:10, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Then my discussion about the confusion between idea and concept is valueless. Any word can be used to mean anything, as long as it accords with "everyday English usage." Any two terms can be interchanged "without too much regard for a distinction between the terms." I am not surprised. A culture that would take "conceptual art" seriously is a culture that wouldn't care about the difference between idea and concept.Lestrade 16:35, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

I didn't say it was valueless, I said it was an interesting idea. My point was simply that the article deals with the movement and its history, and the two terms were used interchangebly for much of that early history. However, I also ended by saying that the notion of distinguishing ideas from concepts may well have arisen as a topic of debate among the artists at the time. If you go to the source material and find whether and where this is the case, it could make an excellent contribution to the article. To simply mount your own case against the movement based on your thoughts regarding "ideas", "concepts" and Schopenhauer would be P.O.V., as well as original research, and therefore invalid in this context.Kramer J 18:25, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. Editors' personal opinions are irrelevant. Tyrenius 12:37, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
User:Tyrenius, is that your personal opinion? If so, is it irrelevant?Lestrade 13:00, 14 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade
No. It's wikipedia policy WP:NPOV. Please study it, along with WP:VERIFY and WP:NOR. Thank you. Tyrenius 00:54, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
It's personal opinion in the context of a forum, so it's relevant. If User:Tyrenius had posted it in the main article, then it would be irrelevant. This article is about the history of the movement, whether or not you like the art, agree or disagree with the quality or historical importance of the art. You can't erase the history simply because you don't like it. Hell, I'd be deleting shitloads of stuff on wiki if that was the rule. You don't like conceptual art, fine. You think conceptual artists are no-talent frauds? Write an essay and get it published. Arguing the semantics of the term or the value of the practice is only of limited use in this context, simply because you will not be able to to "delete" conceptual art from history. Freshacconci 20:20, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

So, the meaning (semantics) of the word conceptual has no place in the article or on the talk page. The value of the activity called conceptual art is also a forbidden topic. This reminds me on a story I once heard that was titled The Emperor's New Clothes.Lestrade 21:02, 26 October 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

Again, in this forum, on the discussion page, it's not forbidden. But placing it in the article is wrong because it's a value judgement. There are plenty of forums for presenting your opinions: letters to the editor, published writing, discussions. All valid. But we're talking about a history of conceptual art, not an argument about whether or not it's a legitimate artform. There's plenty of things that have made history, that I personally don't agree with, while other things remain obscure. That's the nature of history.Freshacconci 03:33, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Please study Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines:
  • Stay objective: Talk pages are not a forum for editors to argue their own different points of view about controversial issues. They are a forum to discuss how the different points of view obtained from secondary sources should be included in the article, so that the end result is neutral and objective (which may mean including conflicting viewpoints). The best way to present a case is to find properly referenced material.
Tyrenius 05:15, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Expansion of article[edit]

As Kramer J has said above, "Conceptual art was the first truly international avant-garde art movement, and perhaps the last of the great avant-gardes of the twentieth century", what this article needs is not the removal of material, but the addition of substantial material to depict the birth, growth, transformation, impact, perception and reception of the art form. Tyrenius 14:33, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

It is true that Conceptual Art was recognized internationally; however Dada was also the practice of artists in the the west; but not the last of the great avant-gardes. Conceptual Art preceeded the technological watershed in the arts which brought about the digital era. The digital era, including video, robotics, artificial life, and so forth, began in the 20th century.
On another point, somewhat related, my addition in September was deleted without explanation. I added Natasha Vita-More's name to the list of artists becuase I find her work extraordinarily in step with this movement. If anyone wants to debate me on this, let's do it. Otherwise, it is unWikipedia-like to remove edits based on subjectivity. We are looking for a balanced essay on Conceptual Art which has accuracy and depth. As an art historian, I think that this mid/late 20th Century movement still has bones and must include current day artists who are visionary -- who actually think. Vita-More is a big thinker. If you have not heard her in person, you can read about her ideas for the future. She has developed a future body design based on Conceptual Art, which takes Conceptual Art into the late 20th Century where it certainly ought to be. Avantguarde 01:44, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

On Pointlessness and Irrelevance[edit]

At the beginning of Talk:Conceptual Art there is a box with a question mark. It reads: “It is requested that a photograph or photographs be included in this article to improve its quality.” Such a remark is an indication of the wooden iron contradiction in the words “Conceptual Art.” If User:Kramer J hadn’t deleted Schopenhauer’s remark, a reader would know why there is such a natural human desire and need to see a photograph or image of Conceptual Art. Art must be based on perceptions, not concepts. Schopenhauer asserted that concepts are useful in life, as well as necessary and productive in science. However, according to him, they are “eternally barren and unproductive in art.” User:Kramer J judged that incisive remark to be pointless and irrelevant. User:Kramer J also claimed that comments for or against Conceptual Art are infinite. “Why not include comments by Wittgenstein, Descartes, or Arthur Danto?”, he asks. But if these thinkers have important and clarifying insights and thoughts on the subject of Conceptual Art, why not include them in the article? Would a few dozen of these words harm the article? I have seen serious Wikipedia articles that contain long lists of references to popular culture, television, and movies. If some screenwriter mentions Einstein in his silly script, then the Wikipedia article finds room to mention it without concern for its being “pointless and irrelevant.” But, if a real thinker has a dozen words to say about the relationship between concepts and art, there is always a User:Kramer J who will quickly delete it. So the request to see Conceptual Art will remain at the head of the Talk page. But it would be understandable to a reader who could have benefited from Schopenhauer’s remark about the futility of basing art on mere abstract concepts and the words that are used to designate them.Lestrade 18:32, 9 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

We need to aim for a comprehensive survey of the subject, and this would seem to be a valid observation from a significant thinker, so perhaps it should be reinstated. Thoughts anyone? Tyrenius 00:29, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

I admit my ignorance of the aforementioned Schopenhauer quote. However, I disagree with Lestrade that "Art must be based on perceptions, not concepts." The putative assessment (or Duchamp's word "consecration") of art is based on perception, after the fact. What art itself ought to be based on is highly variable and influenced by epistemic conditions and individual theories. The legislation of flawed "absolutes" that specify what art ought to entail are what helped to produce conceptual art. Lestrade re-states (I believe) a portion of the quote in question where Schopenhauer states that concepts are "eternally barren and unproductive in art.” As represented, this can be logically disproved, as actions are preceded by conscious thought (to act). At the very least, this makes the quote suspect in relevance and I would not recommend reinstatement.

Further, if we are including quotes of any nature in the article, I believe they should come from conceptual artists themselves or, in the exceptionally rare case, from someone writing specifically and substantively about the topic of Conceptual Art. Mcameronboyd 14:55, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

I could only see three possible responses to the provocation of the schopenhauer quote: 1) leave it alone and uncontextualised to stand as gratuitous POV; 2) take it as an invitation to a never-ending game of "add a quote for/add a quote against"; or 3) delete it. There was of course a fourth option: work it into a general philosophical discussion of the relationship between the sensual and ideational in art, but that would eventually take us away from conceptualism and into the wider morass of philosophical aesthetics - a very sticky business. Kramer J 19:16, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
Just a reminder that wiki uses secondary sources as in WP:VERIFY so quotes or observations from different writers are quite acceptable, not just from artists. Also a request to bear in mind that we are writing for an average reader, not art theoretical specialists, so language should be attuned accordingly. Tyrenius 04:02, 12 September 2006 (UTC)
Here's a quote by Sol LeWitt that the average reader should immediately comprehend: "The concept and idea are different. The former implies a general direction while the latter is a component. Ideas implement the concept."Lestrade 18:18, 12 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade
That cannot be used unless you provide a verifiable reference for it. Anyone contributing to the article or the discussion should please note this essential point. Tyrenius 21:21, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

According to User:Mcameronboyd it is from LeWitt's "1969 piece 'Sentences on conceptual Art.' " As can be noted, LeWitt is as talented at making sentences as he is at making art.Lestrade 01:01, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade


The term "Conceptual Art" is an oxymoron or wooden iron. A concept is a general thought that consists of that which is common to several perceptions. For example, I see a poodle, a hound, and a pit bull. If I think of the general individual that is common to all three, I have the concept dog. For purposes of communication, concepts are designated by names. Therefore, Conceptual Art would either show an individual perception or a name. If it shows an individual perception, it is visual art, not Conceptual Art. If it shows a name, then it is a mere sign, similar to a billboard containing words. The adjective "conceptual" is the opposite of the noun "art." That results in its being an oxymoron, or contradiction between an adjective and a noun.Lestrade 17:15, 20 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

Please study WP:TPG. This page is not the place for original research. Please contribute referenced material from secondary sources. Thank you. Tyrenius 20:11, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
That would be true for the main article. This is, however, the discussion page. (talk) 08:49, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
The "discussion" that takes place here is supposed to be relevant to the editing of the article. I could say that all art is "conceptual," a view I hold. But I don't know of the source supporting that view. Similarly, the above thoughts from 2006 are not accompanied by sources expounding those views. Hence it is hard to say how these views are consonant with the purpose of formulating verbiage that has as its origin reliable sources. Bus stop (talk) 14:13, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

sit nomine digna[edit]

Re: the concept and the oxymoron. Jonathan Janes (?spelling) had an interesting discussion in his book "The origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bi-cameral mind" which revolutionised the way i looked at poetry: the paraphrand and the metaphrand. These two may be useful in your thoughts on general versus specific terms. However, I agree with tyrenius that this ain't the place. In the end words are not pictures, though they are the only tools we have for communicating thoughts about art to each other, they are at best barely adequate. Lgh 04:45, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

In other words, a Wikipedia article on Conceptual Art is not the place to clearly and distinctly present information about concepts, art, perceptions, and words. These four terms are all different from each other and their relationships are not commonly understood. It almost seems as though the article is expected to be read by mindless people who don't care to seriously understand anything involved in the subject of Conceptual Art. Maybe their interests are on other things, such as careers, appearing to be modern or current, etc. When you say that Jonathan Janes (spelling uncertain) wrote an article that revolutionised the way that you look at poetry, you are not adequately "communicating thoughts about art to" me.Lestrade 12:46, 21 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade
Find some secondary sources and all will be well, as in WP:VERIFY. Tyrenius 22:29, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Noteworthy Artists[edit]

I have not seen a response to my query on the addition of Natasha Vita-More who I believe to be an exemplar conceptual artist. She is the first artist to conceptualize a future human in her well-received and highly publicized Primo Posthuman which has appeared in BBC, PBS, TLC, several times in Wired magazine, New York Times, London Guardian, amongst others. (The Atlantic Monthly magazine called her a cross between Duchamp and Madonna.) Regardless of whether or not authors are interested in the future, Vita-More is a pioneer and known conceptual thinker amongst scientists, technologists and artists who are interested in the future. I'd like to see her added to the list of artists in this article. Avantguarde 23:17, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

There has been no comments. Please voice your views about adding Natasha Vita-More to the list of Conceptual Art artists. Since Conceputal Art is still a noteworthy genre (and perhaps making a comeback), it is opportune to add Vita-More to the list. Avantguarde 19:58, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
I say yes to the addition of Natasha Vita-More. Yes, conceptual art is relevant, probably/possibly on the comeback, definitely so with the move into science and art hybridity, which I would classify under "conceptual art" since the formal elements are secondary to the concept/idea.Freshacconci 20:09, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Sorry to disagree but she seems more to fit in an article about transhumanist art (should there be one) than in this. Mel Bochner hasn't yet been mentioned except for in the list, and better coverage of the movement needs to happen before making conjectures about it's legacy. About this kind of list- they are helpful in developing articles but often get removed once the article is in paragraph form. DVD+ R/W 20:56, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree with DVD+ R/W and would eventually like to see the list either removed or broken up into sections that more accurately reflect where each artist stands in relation the movement. As I write this, the list appears to be a jumble that includes many unrelated figures from both art history and contemporary art. Yves Klein, Yoko Ono, Maurizio Cattelan and Vanessa Beecroft, great as they may be as artists, have little in common, and to claim them as "notable conceptual artists" is a stretch at best, and probably very confusing for someone researching the movement for the first time--any logic that may have previously guided the selection of artists for this list appears to have been lost. A sub-listing of notable contemporary artists who owe a debt to conceptualism might help to clarify things, and I would have no problem with Natasha Vita-More's inclusion in such a list. Ultimately though, lists of this sort are unsatisfying and fluid. Robert Smithson and Ian Burn were prime-movers in the debates going on during the initial moment of conceptual art (as both artists and writers), yet they do not appear on the list, while the peripherally related figures of Wolf Vostell and Joseph Beuys do. This sort of anomaly will continue to crop up while any such list exists. Kramer J 03:20, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
How about sub-dividing the list under headings to make it clear where each person fits in? And then moving it to its own page with a link from this article. Tyrenius 03:41, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
A good idea. We'd need to come up with a logical structure for the sub-divisions and clear headings. Perhaps a simple chronological ordering will do; something like, 1) pre-Conceptual influences (Duchamp, Fluxus--others?), 2) the main movement (60s-early 70s), and 3) the Conceptual legacy (relevant contemporary artists). It's not a perfect way to carve things up, especially given that some of the artists from the first wave are still working today, and there will continue to be argument over who should be included in which section. Any other suggestions or ideas for further headings and/or better wording of the three I've mentioned? Kramer J 05:49, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Freshacconci for adding Natasha Vita-More because she represents the 21st century Conceptual Artist. Unless you want to see this genre dead, I highly suggest that you include Vita-More because she is one person whose voice will be heard in the arts when Transhumanism gains more ground worldwide. My suggestion is to have decades of Conceptual Artists from 1960 forward. My point being that if we are true to the genre, then we must be true to those who practice the art. Innovative conceptual thinking outperforms the status quo is deemed Conceptual Art. Remember, it is the "idea" - the brain work that is part and parcel to Conceptual Art, not the art itself. Who is a conceptual groundbreaker if not Vita-More? Her films and videos about immortality and gender-bending were produced in the 1970s, long before it became mainstream. Avantguarde 23:18, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
The article on her doesn't even mention conceptual art. "she is one person whose voice will be heard in the arts when Transhumanism gains more ground worldwide": we don't include predictions. Tyrenius 02:19, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

List of noteworthy artists[edit]

Should artists be added to the list of Conceptual artists if they don't already have an article on Wikipedia? Isn't it the article on Wikipedia that establishes notability for an artist, as far as Wikipedia is concerned? I removed "red lettered" artists from the list but another editor put them back. Any opinions on this? Bus stop 23:53, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

I was of a similar mind. I found (or was pointed to--can't remember off-hand) this section: Wikipedia:WikiProject_Red_Link_Recovery. I guess the basic thinking is that a red link represents articles that need to be created. However, I think I'm with Bus stop to a degree. Too often articles (especially lists) will have an abundance of red links that are never turned into actual articles. I try to be inclusionist and also follow the whole WP:BITE mindset, so I often refer to the above WikiProject on the talk page of an editor who has included a red link in an article. (Was that a sentence?). I think that's a good idea up to a point. Simply googling a name (and they're usually names) helps determine notability and referring to the Red Link Recovery WikiProject gives a new editor a place to start. But red links that have lingered for a long time should be removed, I feel. My 2 cents. Freshacconci 00:05, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I find red links to artist's names problematic. That is because the product of the artist is for sale. Wikipedia is therefore just advertising the artist's work, unless, of course, notability is established. That is why I think an editor should be required to first establish an article for an artist before adding a red linked name to a list. Bus stop 00:15, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I tend to err on the side of removal of red links in lists. There's too many non notable names inserted. It can be instructive to look at the contributing editor's other additions (if any). However, red links can serve a purpose to stimulate a needed article. That is the justification for them. Tyrenius 02:07, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
This is true to an extent; however the reason that I am so insistent about the inclusion of these three artists is that one (Brouwn) is generally considered to be a noteworthy first-generation conceptualist, if not to the degree of someone like Kosuth and Buren, and the other two are well-known younger conceptualists, again not as prominent as some other figures (e.g. Andrea Fraser, Christopher WIlliams) but still hardly unrecognized. Nevertheless I do understand that it is problematic to take their importance as a given within WIkipedia, and so I will try to create at least some basic articles before including them in the list. Arsene 04:49, 2 April 2007 (UTC)


I suggest leaving in the reference to Metro Pictures Gallery (1990) as it was (and still is) the rare New York gallery to focus on conceptual art in the late 80s and 90s.I.A.Contino (talk) 08:51, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Iris Clert Portrait Rauschenberg.jpg[edit]

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The lists should be incorporated into the body of the article or removed[edit]

Long lists make for boring reading and are not good form in a Wikipedia article. Individuals and examples of work should be contextualised as part of the history of the movement, and if they cannot be so contextualised then they don't belong in the article. A much shorter article that can be kept accurate is preferable to the inclusion of lengthy lists that only serve as invitations to opportunists to slot themselves in, in an attempt to legitimise themselves historically. This has been a problem over the several years of the life of this article and it's time to put a stop to it. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 08:17, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Lists are a standard feature of articles. They are not reading as such, but a quick and easy guide. It can be very cumbersome to have article text overloaded with names. All sorts of unwarranted things are inserted into articles, but we deal with it by removing them. That is the nature of a wiki. We don't deal with it by deleting the sound content. Ty 13:01, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Lists are neither standard nor desirable inside Wikipedia articles. Regarding embedded lists, Wikipedia style recommendations are clear:
"Most Wikipedia articles should consist of prose, and not just a list of links. Prose allows the presentation of detail and clarification of context, while a list of links does not. Prose flows, like one person speaking to another, and is best suited to articles, because their purpose is to explain. Therefore, lists of links, which are most useful for browsing subject areas, should usually have their own entries: see Wikipedia:Stand-alone lists for detail. In an article, significant items should be mentioned naturally within the text rather than merely listed." Wikipedia:Embedded list
I have included relevant cleanup tags to this section to illustrate the point. I appreciate the need to retain rather than delete information. I propose that, as a compromise, rather than delete the information, both the list of artists and list of examples should be moved into separate pages as stand-alone lists and linked to in the main article, as recommended in the guidelines. Once the lists are stand-alone, they can be given more serious attention and the guidelines for stand-alone lists can be applied, which would include the creation of a "lead section" for each list that "presents unambiguous statements of membership criteria" (see here). It is necessary to have that discussion (about criteria to decide who and what to list), but not within the context of the main article, the purpose of which is to introduce and explain what conceptual art is. This purpose is not well served by the inclusion of a list of names and an arbitrary selection of esoteric works. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 10:33, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Lists have been deleted from Wikipedia on the ground that they are lists. So I dont think there is any inherent worth to their existence or need for such. Overall, I think this article would benefit from the removal of this oft-abused list. Setwisohi (talk) 14:28, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Conceptual art is not an easy thing to understand; it challenges understanding. All the explanation in prose form is not a substitute for examples that can be given. Conceptual art varies widely, and is not easily defined. Conceptual art suggests an approach to understanding art. The reader seriously interested in understanding this relatively recent trend in thinking about the visual arts is benefitted by having a list of entities that supposedly have been vetted for relevancy. If there are individual entities that are felt not to belong by all means point them out. My basic assumption is that if the artist has an article on wiki and if the artist (or art group) is said to be working in the realm of "conceptual" art in their wiki article, then they probably deserve inclusion in a list such as this. I don't see the advantage to moving the list off the page on "Conceptual art." Such a list in a different location is more likely to be neglected and therefore abused then when under the watchful eye of all those who keep an eye on this, the Conceptual art article. Bus stop (talk) 15:24, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
There are many subjects, even other art movements, that are difficult to understand, and that are nevertheless treated effectively in Wikipedia articles without the need for lists inside the article. The difficulty of a topic does not excuse violations of Wikipedia style guidelines. As they currently stand the lists require clean-up and lack lead sections, deficiencies that only invite abuse. Making them stand-alone lists will, contrary to Bus Stop's view, give the lists gravitas as autonomous Wikipedia entries--precisely the sort of impetus to encourage users to bring them up to scratch and take them seriously.
The alternative is to modify the lists according to a clear logic that evidences reasons for inclusion and that connects strongly to the body of the article. Without such a logic it is simply too easy for people to add and subtract from the lists arbitrarily, since, after all, it is just an arbitrary list with no connection to the text of the article.
Please do a quick browse of articles that deal with similarly difficult subjects, such as philosophical concepts, and you will find no lists of philosophers who hold X (e.g., Materialism, Marxism, Deconstruction). Minimalism, as the avant-garde tendency that immediately preceded conceptualism and that continues in similar manner to exert an influence today (particularly in music) is a good example from art. Note that the article contains no lists of works, and names of relevant artists are incorporated into the body of the article under different sections depending on relevance. It is much more difficult for an opportunist or revisionist to insert names or works into the article this way. -Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 16:53, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Actually, the latter example (Minimalism) shows the problems with horizontal lists within a prose section. And there are more than a couple of examples in the current version of that article which show how those kinds of lists can be abused. The format of the list does nothing to discourage opportunism. On the contrary, it seems to give legitimacy if that list is not carefully scrutinized on a regular basis. Likewise, a horizontal list within a prose section, such as the Minimalism article, does little to provide context and is as useful or useless as a vertical list. The prohibition on lists is actually a little more nuanced than is being suggested here, and of course is a guideline, not policy. The guideline quoted above is in actuality about articles which are specifically only lists with no contextual information. This is not the case with the Conceptual art article. If the article is maintained by dedicated editors, a vertical list is no more of a problem than horizontal and I would argue that the latter is more cumbersome to read. I think that artists whose articles are up to standard and clearly state that they are notable conceptual artists (i.e. known for conceptual art rather than artists whose work may be conceptual in nature) can easily exist in this list format. Again, the tag provided at the top of this section clearly refers to whole articles which are in the form of a list without prose. This is not the case here. freshacconci talktalk 17:19, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Read the article on embedded lists above, specifically the example it shows of what to do versus what not to do. Clearly horizontal lists are preferable, for obvious reasons, one of which I've outlined (segregation into relevant sections of the article is possible), another being that they inevitably remain short, and finally they offer writers the opportunity to expand on the listed items within the body of the article. I don't mind the removal of that tag, however I think you should have checked its full description before rushing to delete it. The note on usage says, "For use in non-list articles where too much of the content is composed of lists." I don't see you providing any positive reasons for maintaining the lists against guidelines. Do you have any argument for how the lists improve the quality of the article, bearing in mind that the information in them can be retained in stand-alone list linked to in the See Also section? Surely our ultimate goal would be to incorporate all of that information into the article. However, until that happens, the lists are like a writer's point-form notes. You don't put them in the published piece. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 17:38, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't think the article has to present the appearance of a published, or finished piece. If the components of the list are "like a writer's point-form notes," I see that as an argument for leaving them on the same page as the conceptual art article. The reader can still make use of them even if they have not been incorporated into a coherent narrative. Bus stop (talk) 17:55, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the reader can make use of the lists, but the argument is not that the lists are useless. I am arguing for the guidelines to be adhered to because I think it will make for a better quality article. Put it this way: What is special about conceptual art or this article that makes it is desirable to afflict readers with point-form notes? Are the editors of the article so untalented, amateurish and/or lazy as to be unable to make it conform with Wikipedia guidelines?
Correction to my previous post: I mistakenly supplied the description of the tag that Freshacconci left in, instead of the one he removed (the Cleanup:Prose tag). So the Prose tag doesn't distinguish articles entirely made of lists from those that are only 70% lists; should we assume on that basis that its use is strictly limited to whole articles? I think it is still a relevant tag, but ultimately the other one (mostly) seems to cover it, so no worries. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 18:23, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Lists are a perfectly good addition to an article. WP:IDON'TLIKEIT is not appropriate when the consensus here of veteran visual arts editors is clearly in favor of the list...Modernist (talk) 21:18, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Removal of the list at this stage would not benefit the article. If it is enlarged with more material, which is needed to cover the subject properly, then that would be the time to consider the list again, and then perhaps it would need its own article. Ty 04:06, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure what the argument is to keep the lists in their current form. They can be moved to their own pages and linked to as per guidelines without any loss. Modernist thinks I want them removed because I don't like them, yet I've already given good reasons and shown how my suggestion conforms with Wikipedia guidelines. I don't see any evidence of a consensus among "veteran visual arts editors". This is Wikipedia--are you seriously trying to pull rank? I would also suggest that unless they have expertise in conceptual art history, veteran visual arts editors might not be the most appropriate gate-keepers of this article. Some here seem to have an investment in the article in its current form. I suggest that you are beginning to hold back its potential development. I made an important change to a sentence in the article that improved its quality and accuracy and Ty reverted it citing a non-existent reference. What on Earth is going on here? I am now reluctant to contribute to the article for fear that I would be wasting my time. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 05:32, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
The reference is at the end of the text to which it applies. It is the Tate gallery and your edit does not follow it, so please either revert to the text which accurately follows it, or find a reference to validate your change. Ty 21:26, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
If you're referring to the reference at the end of the second sentence, then I don't understand your quarrel because the original first sentence didn't follow that information either. There is nothing in the Tate article about "strict and focused idea-based art", and certainly no suggestion that all early conceptual artists worked like that, which is the misconception I wanted to fix. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 00:45, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Now Modernist has reverted the sentence again, saying there needs to be a consensus to change it. Lack of consensus is not enough to prevent a change in wording. How about showing where the change is wrong? If you can't do that, then you should leave it in unless you know better. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 05:48, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Correction that is inaccurate, I made 2 edits recently (within the last week) - the first reinstated the Duchamp image Fountain and in the second I removed a few remarks and the tag per consensus...Modernist (talk) 12:38, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I think you accidentally removed the sentence when you removed the tag. I reinstated the tag by mistake while working from an earlier version. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 14:13, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm reinstating the clean-up tag. It's an important warning to users and gives potential editors a solid idea for how to improve the article. Please do not remove it without a reasoned argument as to why the list format is preferable. Do not cite lack of consensus about this, as that is not a reason to remove a change:
"you should not remove a change solely on the grounds that there is no formal record indicating consensus for it: instead, you should give a policy-based or common-sense reason for challenging it." [[11]]
I have not attempted to remove the lists, I am simply highlighting their problems and bringing your attention to the fact that lists are non-standard within articles. Unless you can spell out why lists are the preferred method for conveying information in this article in opposition to guidelines, please do not remove the clean-up tag. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 12:14, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

On conceptual art and spectacle[edit]

In the sentence you are favoring, can you tell me what you are referring to by the phrase, "deliberately eschewed spectacle?" I'm unclear as to what you mean by that. Bus stop (talk) 12:55, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
It is true that it isn't quite clear, but I'm referring to a general preference for the non-spectacular, including unassuming materials and deadpan presentation. This heightens the irony of the point made in the next sentence about the the term's use to refer to the YBA group, who deliberately courted controversy with their sensational works and materials (sharks, sex, shit, etc.). Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 13:39, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
One cannot be said to eschew something that had not even taken place yet. Bus stop (talk) 17:56, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure what point you are making. What hasn't taken place yet? The sentence does not assert that the conceptual artists eschewed the YBA artists. It is a description of their preference for making solemn, unspectacular visuals. Perhaps you think the word "eschewed" is too strong. If so, I'm happy for a different word to be used. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 01:35, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
This is the text:
The first wave of conceptual artists of the 1960s practised a more or less strict and focused idea-based art, which, in its presentation as text and other non-traditional or ephemeral forms, deliberately eschewed spectacle and defied the traditional visual criteria associated with the visual arts.
How do you know that they "deliberately eschewed spectacle?" Bus stop (talk) 16:00, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
One of the thematic pillars of the early movement, as expressed repeatedly by its major spokespeople (Art & Language, Joseph Kosuth, et al) in Kosuth's essays and the journal Art-Language, was a total rejection of the visual and the aesthetic (aesthetic should be understood here in its original sense as indicating the whole realm of sensation and feeling). The conceptual artists not only elevated cognitive value, but they rigorously disavowed aesthetic value--they did this as part of a campaign to overturn and render irrelevant the dominant critical paradigm of the time, formalism, which championed the massive (spectacular, whether in a strong or weak sense) abstract canvases of the likes of Pollock and De Kooning, and held the art critic to be a kind of cultivated visual-aesthetic savant with impeccable "taste". Now if you want references for all this I might as well add a section to the article, where I can put together some quotes and give your question a more thorough treatment. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 18:02, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
How did they "eschew spectacle," and is there a source for that? Bus stop (talk) 18:11, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
For what it is worth Joseph Kosuth from the beginning of his career and throughout his career always exhibited visual art, some of it actually quite spectacular - as did Lawrence Weiner, and Dan Graham regardless of your so called speculative rhetorical proof to the contrary...Modernist (talk) 18:19, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
It is not my contention that they were entirely uniform in their output or successful in their aims, Modernist. After all, there is no artwork that does not exist in some material form. I would argue that early conceptualist theory was wrong in its neo-Platonic view that an artwork can exist solely in the mind; one could even argue that what resulted from their refusal of the visual is another kind of spectacle, one of administrative and bureaucratic forms. And Bus stop, if one deliberately refuses to create objects for aesthetic contemplation, then one can be said to "eschew spectacle", on the definition of spectacle as simply "something seen", at the very least. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 22:36, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Wasn't there "something seen" in the work of the early conceptualists? And the word spectacle is not just "something seen." Spectacle refers to a degree of something being seen that is above the minimum amount. Thus dictionary dot com uses words like "impressive" and "striking" in defining spectacle. An example that dictionary dot com provides is that of a "lavish spectacle." Bus stop (talk) 23:03, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Terry Atkinson (Art & Language), in "Concerning the Article 'The Dematerialization of Art,'" distinguishes two kinds of visual information: first order visual information referring to the sensible properties of the object or material itself, and second order visual information denoting the ideational content that material conveys. He contends that in conceptual art only the latter is the artwork, while the former is a vehicle for conveying the artwork, and the choice is always pragmatic rather than aesthetic, or so they claimed. The conceptual artists deliberately attempted to reduce "first order" visual information to the minimum necessary to convey the idea. Hence the predominance of text in their work. See also Davies distinction between "physical medium" and "vehicular medium" (Davies 2004). This is anathema to any definition of "spectacle", but like I said earlier, I'm happy to change it. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 00:37, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
When you say that they "deliberately eschewed spectacle" what you are really saying is that the early conceptualists made text-only artworks, and that the text-only artworks had little in the way of a physical presence, beyond words on paper (or some other substrate), and that these artworks therefore had a visual presence that was minimal. I don't know if this is what sources say. But I doubt that sources say that the early conceptualists "deliberately eschewed spectacle." Bus stop (talk) 01:42, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
That's not right. The works were not all text-only; that impression was given by the sentence in its original form. The anti-visual and anti-spectacle character of the work was evident from the very beginning, in Kosuth's choice of objects for example: a chair, a broom, a hammer, standard panes of glass, photographs of these objects and photostats of dictionary definitions. There were others, like Victor Burgin, who deliberately took on the "society of the spectacle" as the subject matter of their work. Burgin created ad-like copy combined with images that exposed the ideological sub-texts of advertising. Even Richard Long's "land art" was anti-monumental, e.g. walking up and down through the grass to form a straight line. The anti-spectacle sentiment is abundantly evident in the works themselves, but if I can find a reference I'll include it. If I can't, I'll modify or at least qualify the claim somehow. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 23:46, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
What does "deliberately eschewed spectacle" mean? If you don't have a source and you are not even going to explain to the reader what you mean by "deliberately eschewed spectacle" then please remove that from the article. Bus stop (talk) 02:24, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Bus Stop, I returned to find you deleted a good sentence for lack of a reference when you should have placed a "citation needed" tag on it. Then you wrote something else in its stead that the world could have been spared by simply reverting to an earlier version. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 17:24, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Kramer, welcome back. I asked you many times to clarify it yourself. See above. I wasn't objecting to what you were saying. I was merely objecting to how you were saying it.
I now find a problem with your use of the term "self-reflexive." Could you expand on what you mean by that, in that particular context? My general objection is to any kind of language that isn't sufficiently clear to a hypothetically average reader. Bus stop (talk) 18:07, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Art that questions the nature of art is questioning its own nature by definition. It is self-reflexive. Seems clear to me. I've changed it anyway.Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 12:38, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Busstop, your justification for removing a comment about "Greenberg's programme" was false. You also deleted some plain English words and then asked if there was a source for them. First of all, I don't think it's right to remove content and then ask if there is a source for it. If you question something then wait for a response before deleting, or put a citation tag on it. Second, why is a source necessary for "[a conceptual work has] few of the expected visual properties of a traditional artwork"? I don't particularly like the wording, but aren't you starting to confuse ordinary English phrasings with jargon and original research?
On Greenberg, he really did "direct output", in your words, both in person when speaking to artists and in his writings. However, what you deleted referred to his programme for Modern art, which is entirely uncontroversial. He certainly did have a quite detailed narrative about where art had been and where he thought it should go. I have sources or I can link directly to his Wikipedia page. It's verified there.Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 18:09, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Kramer, "…programme set out for Modern art…" sounds like artists were following a script that was written for them in advance. Human interaction doesn't work that way; it is a two-way street. Greenberg didn't give assignments to artists; they followed their own instincts. And the zeitgeist of the time resulted from the melding of the inputs of the thoughts of artists and critics and probably others. Bus stop (talk) 18:32, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Such naivety doesn't come with a source, does it? While I would normally agree with your comments, they are of a general nature, and we are dealing with a specific period of recent art history. But I concede that the wording may give a stronger impression than I intended. I will change the it to something that should appease you.Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 19:24, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
It's not naïveté. How would an artist know what critic to follow? We now view the history of art as something that had to turn out as it did. But at any given time there is to be found more than one notion in the air of what art should be or what art is. It was not inevitable that any particular art movement would succeed. Would it have benefitted the artist who practiced art in accordance with Greenberg's ideas concerning art if in fact it was another school of thought in art that prevailed? Bus stop (talk) 21:41, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Another school of thought did eventually prevail, or rather artists lost interest in, or explicitly rejected, Greenberg's prescriptions. Greenberg wielded power like no critic before or since. He was a king-maker. He championed artists whose work obeyed his logic and inflated their careers. They were never really forgiven for it either. Greenberg pushed his "post-painterly abstrationists" (e.g.Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland) right to the top of the New York art tree, and when Greenberg's star faded so did their careers. They were almost forgotten. Even now a stigma remains attached to their names for that sordid episode. Here (from
"In addition to promoting the art of William Baziotes, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, and Pollock, he created the term "Post Painterly Abstractionists" to characterize and define the Color-field style of Helen Frankenthaler (whom he lived with for several years), Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and Jules Olitiski. His criticism was so powerful, some artists (Noland for example) actually admitted changing their directions to fit Greenberg's approval." Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 04:03, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the link to this. It actually made for very good reading.
But do you think the pronouncements of a Greenberg contain the specificity to lead to a particular painting? The translation between the cerebral articulations of a Greenberg and the painting by the artist is so loose as to approach meaninglessness. He (Greenberg) only could have been a "king-maker" after having seen the painting. This is a chicken and egg situation. The prevailing zeitgeist had bearing on all participants — both artist and critic alike. Bus stop (talk) 14:24, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Nicely put Bus stop - the prevailing zeitgeist is still in effect...Oh if I only had a dollar for all the people who blamed Greenberg for all there ills. For all the misconceptions about Olitski, Noland, Louis and Frankenthaler, for all the basic anti-painting strategists of the 1960s, with their own version of market strategy...Modernist (talk) 14:47, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Did the pronouncements of Greenberg contain the specificity to lead to a particular painting? Insofar as it is ever reasonable to assert as much the answer in this case is yes. Greenberg's stipulations regarding post-painterly abstraction were very specific (forms had to be hard-edged and the application of paint flat), and in the case of Noland at least, it led to several paintings. There is no chicken and egg problem here as the direction of causality is clear and acknowledged by the artist. However, to note Greenberg's unusual level of influence is not to negate other influences (nor does it imply a criticism of Greenberg's theories, which are still extremely important). Yes, there is the zeitgeist. But that isn't a monolithic invisible hand determining the production of paintings either. There is also tradition and the individual will of the artist. The latter factor is the one at issue here. What makes Greenberg's influence on individual artists newsworthy are the notions that an artist is solely responsible for the decisions made in their work, and that the originality of their ideas is an important aspect of the value of their work. Whatever one thinks of the proper place for these judgements, when one hears that an artist changed their direction in order to appease a critic, the artist's authorial presence and their implicit claim to originality are undermined. The fact that Greenberg himself held these values in high esteem is perhaps another factor that adds to the interest. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 18:37, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Where are those specifications by Greenberg? Where does he say that "forms had to be hard-edged and the application of paint flat"? Bus stop (talk) 20:04, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Are you next going to ask me to find the photos showing Greenberg standing behind Noland telling him where to put the paint? You're demanding we adhere to an awfully severe notion of influence. But tell me, if you consider the vagaries of the zeitgeist to be a determinative force in painting, why not the words of a powerful art critic? Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 22:32, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Not only is this false - Greenberg's stipulations regarding post-painterly abstraction were very specific (forms had to be hard-edged and the application of paint flat), but it is patently ridiculous, here is Greenberg's essay and links to the catalog:[12] please note - Sam Francis, Ellsworth Kelly, Al Held, Helen Frankenthaler, Jules Olitski, Friedel Dzubas, Jack Bush, no hard edges - he was indicating a new drift away from angst, away from action painting, away from gestural surfaces - a new reliance on color. As to Kenneth Noland he studied at Black Mountain College with Ilya Boltowsky and Josef Albers, which was what motivated his study of Paul Klee and color. Greenberg had an eye - he saw what was there - he saw Pollock, and he saw Louis and he was better than most at articulating what he saw. People have mythologized him, demonized him, put words in his mouth that he did not say...Modernist (talk) 00:29, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Greenberg: "Some of the artists in this exhibition look "hard-edged," but this by itself does not account for their inclusion. They are included because they have won their "hardness" from the "softness" of Painterly Abstraction" --the fact that he felt the need to defend his inclusion of "hard-edged" painters is telling. He goes on to describe how they all apply the paint thinly in more or less flat areas of colour. I never claimed that painters weren't already doing this before Greenberg told them to. But it is clear that Greenberg promoted artists that conformed with his preferred narrative of Modernism; whether they got their ideas from him or not is a side-issue. The notion that he influenced the output of individual artists directly was raised by Bus Stop when he queried the words "programme set out for Modern art" which he interpreted to mean something it didn't. It just so happens that some artists did change their work to suit Greenberg's vision, some by their own admission. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 01:19, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

(outdent) Kramer, Greenberg talks about "mannerisms" into which some painting has "degenerated". That is something that I would cite from Greenberg's essay that would tend to spur artists on to make a certain type of painting. But it is utterly unclear what type of painting such "coaching" would lead to. All that we can know is that it would lead to a painting that avoided "mannerisms." That leaves the field pretty wide open for the types of painting that might result. On the other hand, I don't really see, in this essay anyway, a positive direction being offered. Bus stop (talk) 03:15, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

In short what Greenberg said was the painterly look of Abstract Expressionism by the 1960s looked mannered and contrived and a younger generation of painters were doing something fresh with color and paint surface and in a new style. Just like today we have rehashed, regurgitated, conceptual art, and minimal art that looks dated, and contrived, vastly different from the freshness of those styles in the mid-1960s...Modernist (talk) 04:02, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Bus Stop, all I can do is suggest you read Greenberg's essays, particularly "American Type Painting". If you can't, then as I think I said earlier the article on Greenberg gives a decent if brief account of his ideas about Modern American painting and what it should be doing (almost as a matter of historical necessity on his view), and what it should look like, specifically. Dr John (formerly Kramer J) (talk) 17:51, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
OK. I'll try to check it out more thoroughly. Thanks. Bus stop (talk) 18:16, 21 January 2010 (UTC)


The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Consensus is that the artist will continue to be called Ruscha and not roo-SHAY, though this could always be revisited.

"...seminal Pop and Conceptual artist" —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bus stop (talkcontribs)

Oh, I see, you've just added Russia (my sic) to the article. Why not use the link as a reference in the article? Ty 22:04, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
OK. Thanks for the suggestion.
incidentally, his name seems to be pronounced "roo-SHAY" Bus stop (talk) 22:20, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I think we should spell it like that in the article: "roo-SHAY". Just so there's no mistake. ;) Perhaps we could ask Modernist about this... Ty 22:48, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Well - we don't want to create a conspiracy about Ed...Modernist (talk) 23:24, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
So you're saying there's no consensus for roo-SHAY, because of course if there were, it would then become a fact... Ty 00:37, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
It's just too obscure, to exist yet...Modernist (talk) 01:29, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.