Monday, November 10, 2008

Thoughts on Conceptualism

From Conceptual Art by Tony Godfry

From the first chapter, discussing the rejection of Duchamp's "Fountain" in the Society of Independent Artists 1916 non-juried and uncensored exhibit.

"Authority was not just a political matter: it was also religious, sexual (patriarchal) and cultural. Academies and groups such as the Society of Independent Artists represented authority just as much as any parliament or king. Art, even Modernist art, it was believed, stood for certain things: culture, decency and high aspirations - hence Glacken's refusal to see something indecent as art. It was indecent to him not only in breaking the decorum of the academy, but in raising issues of sexuality and the unidealized body. It was a low-life object. Above all it was an anti-authoritarian object, because it questioned the definition of art. By what authority could the directors of the Society say it could not be defined as art? And, contrariwise, if they could not define what art was, what authority did they have?"

Started reading this book today. The ideas in the first few pages reminded me of what I saw while unpacking Erik Foss' work at Gallery Three. I'm excited to read more.

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