shu and joe

Why are conceptual artists painting again?

Published on October 2, 2008

Sounds like a good topic to open up The Building’s monthly art talks series. Berlin-based critic Jan Verwoert is at the helm, and all are welcome.

Friday, October 3rd, 730 PM

the building
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 14a
Berlin, 10249 DE
T: 030 28 04 79 73

How have the basic conditions of art practice changed and what words and models could we use to open up the potentials at the heart of these developments in art after Conceptualism?

The dominant models no longer satisfy. It makes no sense to melodramatically invoke the “end of painting” (or any other medium-specific practice for that part) when the continous emergence of fascinating work obviously proves apocalyptic endgame scenarios wrong. Yet, to pretend it were possible to go back to business as usual seems equally impossible because the radical expansion of artistic possibilities through the landslide changes of the 1960s leave medium-specific practices in the odd position of being one among many modes of artistic articulation, with no preset justification. How can we describe then what medium-specific practices like painting or sculpture can do today?

Likewise, it seems, that we can still not quite convincingly describe to ourselves what Conceptual Art can be: An art of pure ideas? As if “pure” idea art were ever possible let alone desirable! An art of smart strategic moves and puns? We have advertising agencies for that. The social and political dimension of Conceptualism has been discussed, but often only in apodictic terms, not acknowledging the humour, the wit, the existential, emotional or erotic aspects, as well as the iconophile, not just iconoclast motives, that have always also been at play in the dialectics and politics of life-long conceptual practices.

Filed under: Art, Berlin
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  1. Tobias Spichtig says:

    i’d like to know where and when jan verwoerts essay with this title was published. thank you very much!

  2. Administrator says:

    Hi Tobias,
    I’m not sure if Verwoert’s lecture has been published in written form. The text quoted above was from the press announcement for the lecture given last October.

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