Approaching Conceptual Art | Is This Art?


As we’ve seen, conceptual art differs greatly from what we may call traditional art. We’ve discovered that often it can lie somewhere between traditional art and other disciplines, such as psychology or philosophy. When visiting an art gallery it is perhaps only natural to expect to see art; but if our expectations are based only upon one type of art then we may end up frustrated by what we see, and may frequently find ourselves asking, is this even art?

The boundaries of this term are hard to define, and the idea of art has in recent times become very personalized and less objective. Because it means different things to each of us, as a society we could probably argue ad infinitum without reaching a general consensus on what art is.

At this point it would be handy to ask whether arguing over the definition of this term will really get us anywhere; and if a definition is preventing us from engaging with an experience, that it may even be useful to temporarily forget the idea of ‘art’ completely.

To watch a film at the cinema and to constantly ask throughout it, “Is this a film?,” is to end up missing most of what the film had to offer. Indeed, our conception of a film in this day and age may be utterly foreign to those who first pioneered the art form, but as a society we have allowed ourselves to accept the various changes within this medium. It is easy to miss what an experience has to offer by getting caught up in the language and definitions that surround it, especially in relation to conceptual art.

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