new-york

Henry Flynt

Emily Harvey Foundation

One of the things that distinguishes Henry Flynt’s self-styled “Authentic Concept Art” from neo-Conceptual art is that Flynt’s concepts are a lot harder to grasp: his works are often self-reflexive, inaccessible, and adamantly difficult, and are based on theories of mathematics, philosophy, and linguistics. On the ceiling of the gallery is painted Which Way Is Up?, 1988: it consists of a formula that refutes the claim that mathematical logic can exist outside of language. This formula has different meanings depending on the way in which it is seen. The piece is certainly thought-provoking, but it can leave the viewer cold: Like the show in general, it never broaches the influence of the modern media and its seduction by means of easy answers. The result is work that is unrewardingly cryptic because it refuses to be critical.

Flynt was the first to coin the term “Concept Art” to describe

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 1989 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.