Demystifying Conceptual Art

Conceptual art can feel a bit like an exclusive insiders’ club, but it doesn’t have to be! Join us at our next meetup where we’ll try to demystify the idea. Chat with us about programming, the artistic process, and whether or not there is still room for painting (there is!).

Conceptual art is art for which the idea (or concept) behind the work is more important than the finished art object. In his Paragraphs on Conceptual Art, Sol LeWitte writes, “[w]hen 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.”

The “finished product” can be – and can look like – almost anything. This is because, unlike a painter or sculptor who will think about how best they can express their idea using paint or sculptural materials and techniques, a conceptual artist uses whatever materials and whatever form is most appropriate to putting their idea across – this could be anything from a performance to a written description.

Sources: Tate Museum – art terms, Sol LeWitte, Paragraphs on Conceptual Art

On Kawara, Date Paintings, 1981.

On Kawara, Date Paintings, 1981.

Interested in a more in-depth explanation? Check out this video.

Sometimes art is paintings, and sometimes it's a chair. Why? Let's learn about "Conceptual Art," where the idea is more important than the form.

Want a quicker take? Try this!

What Is Conceptual Art?. Part of the series: Modern Art History. Conceptual art is simply art based on ideas, and the movement began in the early 20th century when artists began concentrating more on the ideas behind art rather than the purely retinal-focused purposes.