Art Movements Throughout History: Conceptual Art

Editorial credit: BakerJarvis / The sculpture "Twin 6' Hearts" is an example of neo-Dada art, which has its roots in conceptualism.

Conceptual art is a type of art in which the artist concentrates more on the ideas and concepts behind their artwork rather than focusing on the final material products. In conceptual art, the most significant part is coming up with a unique idea or concept which most artists believe will consequently lead to a successful art piece at the end. Conceptual artists put a great amount of emphasis on the idea or concept behind their work. This has been termed by many as dematerialization of art.

This has yielded a heated debate among the art elites some arguing for and other being completely against conceptual art claiming that art must be associated with features such as color, shape or lines. The conceptual artists however remain adamant in explaining that the art in the conceptual art is created by the person viewing the artwork and not by the artist.

The History and Evolution of Conceptual Art

Conceptual art traces its roots to the artworks of one Dada artist by the name Marcel Duchamp. Back in the early twentieth century, Duchamp brought forth the idea of readymade in the field of art. Here, the artist chose the artwork without putting into consideration its finishing or the signature. The artwork was chosen based purely on the idea behind it. In the year 1950s, artwork was gradually shifting from abstract expression to neo-Dada. The year 1960 onwards saw the shift from fluxus; this aimed at integrating art and life through use of objects, sounds and reaction to sEditorial credit: BakerJarvis /

LeWitt’s Perception of Conceptual art

LeWitt’s made a mark in the world of art in the year 1967 when he published some paragraphs on conceptual art. Little did he know that his publication would be adapted and used as the conceptual art movement manifesto. In his documentation, LeWitt notes that how the final product of the artwork looks like is not important because after all, it must take a shape of a form. He rather says that what is vital and key in the artwork is the concept resulting in the end artwork. He is quick to note that those artists who put concepts before objects produce the best artworks.

Wiener’s Perception of Conceptual Art

A year later after LeWitt’s publication, Wiener seemed to be in complete agreement with LeWitt when he came up with a ‘Declaration of Intent’. Here, Wiener notes that he would shift from producing physical art and concentrate on the idea behind the art work itself. He argues that the intention of the artist will remain the same whether their work is in physical or conceptual form but agrees that the concept rather carries more weight.


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