Profound or boring?


Since it emerged in the 1960s, Conceptual art has seldom left viewers on the fence. Detractors are deaf to its dry wit, wary of its subversive cerebral bent. Often, Conceptual art wasn’t really built to last, but as a movement it most certainly has endured, perhaps because it launched a way of thinking about society, mobility, and culture that subsequently inspired generations of artists. Early proponents foresaw that Conceptual art would alter the status of an art object and impact networks of promotion, distribution, and provenance in the art world at large. In 2007 MoMA acquired a significant cache of Conceptual art from Geert van Beijeren and Adriaan van Ravesteijn, founders of the Amsterdam gallery Art & Project. Dedicating the gallery to new art of their time, van Beijeren and van Ravesteijn presented exhibitions from 1968 until 2001; they also published the influential Art & Project Bulletin from 1968-1989. Their gift of 230 works to the Modern spans no less than five curatorial departments. Conceptual art thus enters an interesting phase of cross-disciplinary art historical assessment. No doubt this process will burnish the museum’s credibility as one of modern art’s key authorities even as the works themselves add depth to the museum’s holdings.

more from Deborah Garwood at artcritical here.