Conceptual Art History Essay

3020 WordsDec 21, 201113 Pages
The advent of conceptual art has a revolutionary impact in art history. It challenged the traditional perception, practice and notion of art through a single or a combination of a number of new mediums including text, document, photo, sound, video, ready-made, performance and many others. Conceptual art is sometimes considered postmodern as it often confronts challenges and attacks the ideas of authority and mass. What is the central role photography played in conceptual art movement? What is the relationship between conceptual art and postmodernism? Is it the final phase of modernism or a part of the shift to postmodernism? This essay will firstly discuss the formation of conceptual art in cultural, social and historical context and analyse its development and core attributes; secondly explain how photography developed in that period as a medium and how it is utilised in conceptual art; and lastly explore the interactive relationships among modernism, conceptual art and postmodernism. Conceptual art as a word was firstly used by Henry Flynt in 1961 (Lippard, 1973, p. 258), but there were several pre-historical artists such as Marcel Duchamp and their works pioneered conceptual art territory in as early as 1920’s. It is not until late 1960’s that this movement gained momentum and reached its height. The social and cultural background in 1960s was of tension and malaise. Urbanisation, racial conflicts, feminism, Cold War, Vietnam War, Paris 1968 Uprising and other issues made some artists question the traditional authority and values. Technology development already created virtual simulated reality via photography, television and etc. These stimulated artist to contemplate ‘how do we know we know’ (Godfrey 1998, p. 19), which was influenced by the philosophy from Karl Barth (1886-1968) and Michel Foucault (1926-1984) etc. Within art field, following anti-formalism

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