In his book on art, R. G. Collingwood claimed that the actual work of art was really the idea present in the mind of the artist. As if to support Collingwood’s claim, conceptual artists began making art that was designed less to create a beautiful object and more centrally concerned to present ideas or concepts. Only one of the works in this unit is a traditional painting. The others are what are called “installations,” that is, works that are created in specific locations for a limited period in time. Conceptual art thus challenges many of the ideas people had about the nature of art. All three of these works also focus on language and its relationship to visual images, a topic that you will have the opportunity to discuss more fully when you address the philosophy questions at the end of the unit.
Select a piece from below to pick up where you left off.