PRINT February 2003


Alexander Alberro's Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity

CONCEPTUAL ART HAS COME TO OCCUPY AN increasingly prominent position within the array of movements that sprang to life out of the ashes of formalist modernism. As both a synoptic moment in the development of avant-garde art and a symbol of its (ultimately unfulfilled) critical negativity, it seems to hold open the promise of the ’60s in a qualitatively different way from other, closely related types of art. However, despite this emblematic significance, not only do the political meaning and artistic legacy of Conceptual art remain uncertain, but its very notion is still hotly contested. The art-historical task of recovery and reconstruction is thus accompanied here by a pressing need for critical reflection on the effectivity of past works within the present. Academic discourses on art are, on the whole, ill-equipped to meet this need, since it requires taking a position on the historical

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