Conceptual

DEFINITION

Pertaining to the process involved in the initial stages of art-making (i.e., the initial conception, or idea). Also, the name of a contemporary art movement which is mainly concerned with this process of conceiving of and developing the initial idea, as opposed to the carrying-out of the idea into concrete form. I think that conceptual artists also often think of the idea as the real work of art, rather than its concrete manifestation. It is possible for a conceptual art "piece" to not even be a tangible object - it may be an event or a process, which can&#39;t be seen itself, but the results of the event or process may be displayed, in text or photographs, for instance. Conceptual art tends to be created across artistic categories - for instance, mixing the mediums of photography, text, sound, sculpture, etc. My feeling about a lot of the conceptual work I have seen is that it tends to be an experiential art, rather than the traditional &#39;passive&#39; experience of viewing art on a wall or a pedestal. Perhaps because our age and time demand a more interactive experience; or because art had by the late 20th century become a &#39;commodity,&#39; to be bought and sold like any other commodity, and artists felt a need to avoid this commodification. Two examples come to mind: 1) Maya Lin&#39;s memorial to Vietnam veterans in Washington, DC. The traditional bronze statue of soldiers would not have been nearly as effective as a memorial to Vietnam veterans; as it is, it has become a powerful catharsis for Vietnam vets, and also for the two war-era factions - the hawks and the doves - those who protested the war in the 1960&#39;s, and those who supported the Vietnam war. 2) In the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, there is a large collection of shoes which belonged to Nazi concentration camp victims. Though this may not be officially a conceptual artwork, it has the characteristics of one, and perhaps was influenced by conceptual art. A photograph on the wall of such belongings would be an adequate representation of the horror of that time. But a huge pile of shoes in a room, to be walked through, to see the different types of shoes which resemble their former owners in personality and age, is to really experience the powerful emotions associated with such horror.<br><br>In general, referring to concept or conception. In reference to art, imagery which departs from perceptual accuracy to present a mental formulation of the object, rather than its appearance alone. As examples, the rigidly formal art of ancient Egypt may be viewed as conceptual, whereas the Realism of Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877) is perceptual. Nevertheless, it should not be thought that perceptual art is really without ideas (or ideology), however.Also see conceptual art and program.

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