Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES

 

 
 

 
 

CHAPTER TWO
 

TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
 

SCULPTURE BEFORE WORLD WAR I
SCULPTURE BETWEEN THE WARS - Part1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
SCULPTURE SINCE 1945 - Part1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
 
 


SCULPTURE

 


SCULPTURE SINCE 1945

 

Conceptual Art

Conceptual Art has the same "patron saint" as Pop Art: Marcel Duchamp. It arose during the 1960s out of the Happenings staged by Alan Kaprow (born 1927) in which the event itself became the art. Conceptual Art challenges our definition of art more radically than Pop, insisting that the leap of the imagination, not the execution, is art. According to this view, works of art can be dispensed with altogether, since they are incidental by-products of the imaginative leap. So too can galleries and, by extension, even the artist's public. The creative process need only be documented in some way. Sometimes this is in verbal form, but more often it is by still photography, video, or cinema displayed within an installation.

Conceptual Art, we will recognize, is akin to Minimalism as a phenomenon of the 1960s, but instead of abolishing content, it eliminates aesthetics from art. This deliberately antiart approach, stemming from Dada, poses a number of stimulating paradoxes. As soon as the documentation takes on visible form, it begins to come perilously close to more traditional forms of art (especially if it is placed in a gallery where it can be seen by an audience), since it is impossible fully to divorce the imagination from aesthetic matters.



Joseph Kosuth

We see this in One and Three Chain (fig.
1166) by Joseph Kosuth (born 1945), which is clearly indebted to Duchamp's ready-mades (fig. 1134). It "describes" a chair by combining in one installation an actual chair, a full-scale photograph of that chair, and a printed dictionary definition of a chair. Whatever the Conceptual artist's intention, this making of the work of art, no matter how minimal the process, is as essential as it was for Michelangelo. In the end, all art is the final document of the creative process, because without execution, no idea can ever be fully realized. Without such "proof of performance," the Conceptual artist becomes like the emperor wearing new clothes that no one else can see. And, in fact, Conceptual Art has embraced all of the mediums in one form or another.



1166.
Joseph Kosuth. One and Three Cham. 1965.
Photograph of chair.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
 

 


Joseph Kosuth

Kosuth was born in Toledo, Ohio, and studied fine arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York City from 1965 to 1967.

His art generally strives to explore the nature of art, focusing on ideas at the fringe of art rather than on producing art per se. Thus his art is very self-referential, and a typical tautological statement is this:

"The 'value' of particular artists after Duchamp can be weighed according to how much they questioned the nature of art."
One of his most famous works is One and Three Chairs, a visual expression of Plato's concept of The Forms. The piece features a physical chair, a photograph of that chair, and the text of a dictionary definition of the word "chair". The photograph is a representation of the actual chair situated on the floor, in the foreground of the work of art. The definition, posted on the same wall as the photograph, delineates in words the concept of what a chair is, in its various incarnations. In this and other, similar works, Five Words in Blue Neon and Glass One and Three, Kosuth forwards tautological statements, where the works literally are what they say they are.

In an addition to his artwork, he has written several books on the nature of art and artists, including Artist as Anthropologist. In his essay "Art after Philosophy" (1969), he argued that art is the continuation of philosophy, which he saw at an end. He was unable to define art in so far as such a definition would destroy his private self referential definition of art. Like the Situationists, he rejected formalism as an exercise in aesthetics, with its function to be aesthetic. Formalism, he said, limits the possibilities for art with minimal creative effort put forth by the formalist. Further, since concept is overlooked by the formalist, "Formalist criticism is no more than an analysis of the physical attributes of particular objects which happen to exist in a morphological context". He further argues that the "change from 'appearance' to 'conception' (which begins with Duchamp's first unassisted readymade) was the beginning of 'modern art' and the beginning of 'conceptual art'." Kosuth explains that works of conceptual art are analytic propositions. They are linguistic in character because they express definitions of art. This makes them tautological. In this vein is another of his well-known pieces: In Figeac, Lot, France, on the "Place des écritures" (writings place) is a giant copy of the Rosetta stone.

 

 



Joseph Kosuth. Four Coulors, Four Words





Joseph Kosuth. Neon, 1965





Joseph Kosuth. Box, Cube, Empty, Clear, Glass--a Description.
1965




Joseph Kosuth.
"It was it" No. 4, 1986; phototext by Sigmund Freud from
"Psychopathologie of Everyday Life" with Neon
"Description of the same content twice
It was it"; white neon letters and blue neon-line; size 125 x 267 cm





Joseph Kosuth. Titled (Art as Idea as Idea)
1967





Joseph Kosuth. Untitled

 



Joseph Kosuth
. Titled (A.A.I.A.I.)' [F.E. Special]#1
1967
 



Joseph Kosuth
.
Condizioni d'Assenza (Il nome e chi lo porta, a G.) VI (Venere medici, 9 a. C.)

1999
 



Joseph Kosuth
. Wittgenstein's color
1989
 



Joseph Kosuth
.
Frammento nr 11" («Che mai sara?» from "L'Italiana in Algeri" by G. Rossini)

1999
 



Joseph Kosuth. M.O. (F. O. P.)
1988




John Baldessari.


Like Dada, Conceptual Art is notable for its ironic humor
whose bark is admittedly worse than its bite, however. It reached its high point with Art History, from Ingres and Other Parables by John Baldessari (born 1931), which is both a witty spoof on art-history texts such as this book and a telling commentary on the difficulties young artists face in finding acceptance (fig. 1167). The juxtaposition of a great monument, mock-serious narrative, and absurd moral is meant to deride traditional value judgments about art. Yet it remains strangely innocuous, as if the artist were too self-consciously aware of his mischievous role.
 


1167. John Baldessari. Art History, from Ingres and Other Parables. 1972.
Photograph and typed text. Collection Angelo Baldassarre, Bari, Italy





John Baldessari.
Beethoven's Trumpet (With Ear)




Performance Art

Performance Art, which originated in the early decades of this century, belongs to the history of theater, but the form that arose in the 1970s combines aspects of Happenings and Conceptual Art with installations. In reaction to Minimalism, artists now sought to assert their presence once again by becoming, in effect, living works of art. The results, however, have relied mainly on the shock value of irreverent humor or explicit sexuality. Nonetheless, Performance Art emerged as perhaps the most characteristic art form of the 1980s.




Joseph Beuys


The German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) managed to overcome these limitations, though he, too, was a controversial figure who incorporated an element of parody into his work. Life for Beuys was a creative process in which everyone is an artist. lie assumed the guise of a modern-day shaman intent on healing the spiritual crisis of contemporary life caused, he believed, by the rift between the arts and sciences. To find the common denominator behind such polarities, he created objects and scenarios which, though often baffling at face value, were meant to be accessible to the intuition. In 1974, Beuys spent one week caged up in a New York gallery with a coyote (fig. 1168), an animal sacred to the American Indian but persecuted by the white man. His objective in this "dialogue" was to lift the trauma caused to an entire nation by the schism between the two opposing world views. That the attempt was inherently doomed to failure does not in any way reduce the sincerity of this act of conscience.
 


1168. Joseph Beuys. Coyote. Photo of performance at Rene Block Gallery, New York, 1974.
 

 

      
Joseph Beuys

b. 1921, Krefeld, Germany; d. 1986, Dusseldorf

Joseph Beuys was born May 12, 1921, in Krefeld, Germany. During his school years in Kleve, Beuys was exposed to the work of Achilles Moortgat, whose studio he often visited, and was inspired by the sculptures of Wilhelm Lehmbruck. Beuys began to study medicine in 1940, but his studies were interrupted when he joined the army and served as a fighter pilot. During a mission in 1943, he was badly injured when his plane crashed in a desolate region of south Russia. This experience would resonate in all of his later work.

After the war, he decided to dedicate his life to art. In 1947, he registered at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, where he studied under Joseph Enseling and Ewald Matare. After Beuys graduated in 1951, the brothers Franz Joseph and Hans van der Grinten began to collect his work. Eventually becoming his most important patrons, they organized his first solo show at their house in Kranenburg in 1953. Beuys was appointed professor of monumental sculpture at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Dusseldorf in 1961. The year after, he began to associate with Fluxus artists, principally Nam June Paik and George Maciunas, and later he met Minimalist artist Robert Morris. He helped to organize the Festum Fluxorum Fluxus at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Dusseldorf in 1963, and he participated for the first time in Documenta in Kassel in 1964.

In 1967, Beuys founded the German Student Party, one of the numerous political groups that he organized during the next decade. In 1972, he was dismissed from the Staatliche Kunstakademie Dusseldorf amid great controversy for admitting to his class over 50 students who previously had been rejected. The following year, he founded the Free International University for Creativity and Interdisciplinary Research. He increasingly became involved in political activities and in 1976 ran for the German Bundestag. In 1978, he was made a member of the Akademie der Kunst, Berlin. The 1970s were also marked by numerous exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States. Beuys represented Germany at the Venice Biennale in 1976 and 1980. A retrospective of his work was held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1979. He was made a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm, in 1980. During the inauguration of the 1982 Documentain Kassel, Beuys planted the first of 7,000 oak trees; in other cities, he repeated this tree-planting action several times in the following years. In January 1986, the artist received the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize in Duisburg. On January 23, 1986, Beuys died in Dusseldorf.
 

 

 


Joseph Beuys. How to Explain Paintings to a Dead Hare
Photo from Performance on Nov. 26
1965

 


Joseph Beuys.
I Like America and America Likes Me
1974


 


Joseph Beuys. I Like America and America Likes Me
1974

 


Joseph Beuys. Das Ende des 20
1982

 


Joseph Beuys. Infiltration homogine pour piano a queue

 


Joseph Beuys.
The Skin

 


Joseph Beuys. Plight

 


Joseph Beuys. Eurasia Siberiam Symphony
1963

 


Joseph Beuys. Untitled

 


Joseph Beuys.
Installation view of Fond III/3, 1979,
and Fond IV/4, 1979

 


Joseph Beuys. Untitled


 


Joseph Beuys.
Animal Woman, 1949


 


Joseph Beuys. Virgin, April 4, 1979/June 23, 1979


 


Joseph Beuys. Earthquake, 1981


 


Joseph Beuys. F.I.U.: The Defense of Nature, 1983-1985


 


Joseph Beuys. Untitled, 1984


 


Joseph Beuys.
Lightning with Stag in its Glare (Blitzschlag Mit Lichtschein auf Hirsch), 1985

 
 

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