“In conceptual art, the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all planning and decisions are made beforehand. The execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes the machine that makes the art.” Sol Le Witt – via – Originally quoted from ” Paragraphs on Conceptual Art ” Sol Lewitt – Artforum (June, 1967).
The quote above sums up quite well, LeWitt’s notion of conceptual art. However, I disagree that the execution is a perfunctory affair. Given that the “work” is considered the “idea” and the piece of art merely the result is fine, but I believe that one has to “make” the idea into physical form in order to complete the process. It is in the making that the physical world exerts it’s will and the work “becomes” independent of the mind. It is transformed. And the “thing” made is the artifact, a record of the idea, in all it’s physical being – for as long as it may exist in a physical state. Curiously, it seems that the object remains the thing of value around which one buys or sells or exchanges for something else of value. Think of it this way: generally, one usually doesn’t purchase a sheet of musical notation, rather the consumer purchases the sound results of that notation… Even if you do purchase the notation – it is mostly likely so that you can (re)make the music yourself…
It seems that it is the form, a form which constitutes “physical being” which is shifting so rapidly – sometimes only existing in a virtual presence.
a young artist in art school used to worship the paintings of cezanne. he looked and studied all the books he could find on cezanne and copied all of the reproductions of cezanne’s work he found in the books. he visited a museum and for the first time saw a real cezanne painting. he hated it. it was nothing like the cezanne’s he had studied in the books. from that time on, he made all of this paintings the sizes of paintings reproduced in books and he painted them in black and white. he also printed captions and explanations on the paintings as in books. often he just used words. and one day he realized that very few people went to art galleries and museums but many people looked at books and magazines as he did and they got them through the mail as he did. moral: it’s difficult to put a painting in a mailbox.– the best way to do art – john baldessari – via (courteous of the echoing chamber – tumblr)
Perhaps Baldessari had it right – it is something to think about… I also think with time and saturation especially of the virtual experience online – there will be a demand and recognition to return to the physical object as the most rewarding experience….
Even with “make an un-straight line” and the notion that “objects are perishable and ideas need not be” – I wonder why it is that as objects become scarce they tend to increase in value….