PRINT November 1973




After reading James Collins’ “Things and Theories,” Artforum, May, 1973, one wonders what Collins believes a theory to be if not a thing, when he talks of “theories replacing things” in current Conceptual art. Even given this discrepancy in his interpretation of analytical and theoretical art’s purported aims, I have never come across a single assertion made by any of the artists cited as theoretical Conceptual artists (Art-Language, Victor Burgin, Joseph Kosuth, and John Stezaker) which remotely approximates the aim assigned to such work in “Things and Theories.”

Not surprisingly, when Collins does finally face the task of criticizing the theoretical ideas forwarded, he grossly misrepresents what is said. I am referring to his criticism of essentialism lodged against Art-Language:

. . . Art-Language taking this line of reasoning say they wish to discover “broader concerns for the

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