Conceptual World

“He’s an idea man.” And this is not a pipe. So be it.

Fine, if that’s your line. I’m not recommending or blaming LeWitt, but when wondering as we may what has happened over the last however long to deposit us right here, well… there’s your art over the last forty years, and your world over the last fifty-five. Your artworld? I’m  not saying who’s following who, but… Well, fine, it’s just another idea: but let’s see you and what army take the subjectivity out of that little construct. S’whatifigured.

Uh oh.

Art that is meant for the sensation of the eye primarily would be called perceptual rather than conceptual. This would include most optical, kinetic, light, and color art.

Since the function of conception and perception are contradictory (one pre-, the other postfact) the artist would mitigate his idea by applying subjective judgment to it. If the artist wishes to explore his idea thoroughly, then arbitrary or chance decisions would be kept to a minimum, while caprice, taste and others whimsies would be eliminated from the making of the art. The work does not necessarily have to be rejected if it does not look well. Sometimes what is initially thought to be awkward will eventually be visually pleasing.

To work with a plan that is preset is one way of avoiding subjectivity. It also obviates the necessity of designing each work in turn. The plan would design the work. Some plans would require millions of variations, and some a limited number, but both are finite. Other plans imply infinity. In each case, however, the artist would select the basic form and rules that would govern the solution of the problem. After that the fewer decisions made in the course of completing the work, the better. This eliminates the arbitrary, the capricious, and the subjective as much as possible. This is the reason for using this method.

When an artist uses a multiple modular method he usually chooses a simple and readily available form. The form itself is of very limited importance; it becomes the grammar for the total work. In fact, it is best that the basic unit be deliberately uninteresting so that it may more easily become an intrinsic part of the entire work. Using complex basic forms only disrupts the unity of the whole. Using a simple form repeatedly narrows the field of the work and concentrates the intensity to the arrangement of the form. This arrangement becomes the end while the form becomes the means.

Good to know. Color art… I love it. Only serious amounts of Contract Bridge crosstalk could make a cloud fall from this rain. And speaking of miracles, objective amusement has unleashed upon us all the most resplendent of logical exponents. After all, before long.

And people need jobs, don’t forget; you can’t just stand around all day scratching your head about some damn color art cryptogram one-act. Unless it’s really good.

Limited resources and contracts signed and molding in a safe somewhere are not, conceptually speaking, cases which can be rescued by beautiful execution. And though this may seem like an incoherent digression, you didn’t see what I didn’t write.

At any rate, enemies closer.