Conceptual Art

Conceptual art, as its names implies, is primarily concerned with conveying an idea or concept behind a work, rather than the creation of a traditional art object (such as painting, print, or sculpture). The term first came into use in the 1960s, but is usually associated with artists of the 1970s. However, artists have been making work which is now regarded as conceptual since the beginning of the 20th century, perhaps the first being Marcel Duchamp’s infamous urinal piece made in 1917. In many examples of conceptual art, the art object can be replaced by a description of it or by a set of instructions for its construction, and the actual physical involvement of the artist can often be quite minimal.

In the 1990s conceptual art enjoyed a resurgence and has been linked to the origins of the Young British Artists (YBAs), largely consisting of graduates from Goldsmiths College under the guidance of conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin. Because Conceptual Art is often dependent upon the discourse surrounding the work, it is strongly related to other movements of the last century, such as Cubism, Dada, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art.    

“Art discovers its true social use, not on the ideological plane, but by opening the passage from feeling to meaning”.
Robert Hughes


See our Conceptual Artists here