"Conceptual Art" is a short way of saying, "I can't actually DO
anything, so I just wing it." Also, "I am so vedy, vedy much
better than you all." What, the rest of art isn't conceptual?
Wow, what a judgmental way of looking at art! Conceptual work is
exactly what its name implies: an exploration of a concept. It
doesn’t necessarily have to be functional or even successful… just
exploratory. That means forging into new areas, trying new things,
and seeing what outcomes can be achieved.
The purpose of conceptual work, whether in the automotive industry
(perhaps the most famous) or in architecture (Frank Lloyd Wright, for
example, or Frank Gehry - whatever you might think of his designs, is
working clearly in the conceptual arena), is to cause the current
practitioners and observers to view their work differently and see
Without conceptual work, we wouldn’t have anything new in this or
any other field. And, as a bonus, viewing conceptual work can inspire
our brains to create new neural pathways, linking previously
disconnected bits of thought, and causing each one of us to view the
possibilities in our own work from a slightly different perspective.
THAT’s why it’s so important.
It’s not about being “snooty” or elitest; it’s not about avoiding
doing the functional and practical work. Rather, it’s about
stretching ones limits and, in an ideal universe, stretching the
limits of the collective knowledge we have about ornament…
technique, approach, materials, design, or whatever.
Now, having said that, it doesn’t mean that all conceptual work is
successful or is something that resonates in a pleasant way with me.
Some I like, some inspires me, some I dislike intensely, and for some
I just don’t “get” what the artist was trying to convey. But it’s all
worth a look, just on the chance that a stray technique, color
combination, material, or aesthetic will spark something in my own
work. It’s the same reason I love looking at the work of the ancients
or indigenous cultures in museums!
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