Philosophy and Conceptual Art

By Peter Goldie; Elisabeth Schellekens | Go to book overview

5

The Aesthetic Value of Ideas

Elisabeth Schellekens

In conceptual art the idea of the concept is the most important aspect
of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means
that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the
execution is a perfunctory affair… This kind of art is not theoretical
or illustrative of theories; it is intuitive, it is involved with all types of
mental processes … It is the objective of the artist who is concerned with
conceptual art to make his work mentally interesting to the spectator,
and therefore usually he would want it to become emotionally dry. There
is no reason to suppose, however, that the conceptual artist is out to
bore the viewer. It is only the expectation of an emotional kick, to which
one conditioned to expressionist art is accustomed, that would deter the
viewer from perceiving this art.

Sol LeWitt (1967)


5.1 Conceptual Art as Non-Aesthetic Art

One of the least controversial aspects of the highly provocative project that was early conceptual art was its wholesale rejection of the modernist paradigm.1

1 For interesting discussions of how this contrast is best understood, see the contributions of
Derek Matravers and Diarmuid Costello to this volume.

-71-

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