PRINT Summer 1972

Three Modes of Conceptual Art

THE CATEGORY “CONCEPTUAL ART” is an imprecise term for the multitude of works which claim to elevate concept over material realization.1 The shift from object art to art as idea, to concept rather than sense perception, to art in which matter gives way to energy, time, and motion was early described by Lucy Lippard and John Chandler in their article “The Dematerialization of Art.” In the last few years, the relation of idea to materials has been so modified that what seems desensualized has now become palpable in an expanded art context; for example, absence has been transformed into presence, and actions and noises can be experienced as tangible art forms.

In order to understand the divergent purposes within the overextended label of Conceptual art, it is helpful to distinguish between several Conceptual or “dematerialized” activities. The first involves actions performed in the past and

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