Drawing on Joseph Kosuth’s characterisation of the artist as an engaged anthropologist, Maet argues that nowadays we can consider visual artists, such as Xu. A strict Marxist might question this quasi-anthropological paradigm in art because it tends to .. Joseph Kosuth ()~ but our concerns are quite different. 2. played alongside them in Joseph Kosuth’s “The Play of the Unimention- able” (pp . .. Artist as Anthropologist,” Kosuth sought to show why one had not only to.
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At the School of Visual Arts he made a significant impact while technically a student, influencing fellow students as well as more traditional teachers there at the time such as Mel Bochner. This caused a near revolt of the faculty, as he had been a disruptive presence in the opinion of many of the instructors, several who had unhappily faced his questioning of basic presumptions. Through his art, writing and organizing, he emphasized his interest in the dialectical process of idea formation in relation to language and context.
He introduced the notion that art, as he put it, “was not a question of forms and colors but one of the production of meaning. His analysis had a major impact on his practice as an artist and, soon after, on that of others.
During this period he also maintained his academic interests. He has been invited as a visiting professor and guest lecturer at various universities and institutions for nearly thirty years, some of which include: Kosuth continued his work, writing, exhibiting and exhibition organizing and rapidly became acknowledged as one of the pioneers of Conceptual art and installation art; initiating language-based works as well as photo-based works and appropriation strategies since the beginning of his work in the mids.
His activity has consistently explored the production and role of language and meaning within art. His earliest work, the Protoinvestigations, were done when he was only twenty years old and as they are considered among the first works of the Conceptual art movement they are included in collections such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim, The Whitney, Centre Pompidou, The Tate Gallery, The Reina Sophia, Madrid, among many others, and constitute a youthful record in most of these major collections.
He is the President of the foundation. Kosuth belongs to a broadly international generation of conceptual artists that began to emerge in the mids, stripping art of personal emotion, reducing it to nearly pure information or idea and greatly playing down the art object. Kosuth’s works are frequently self-referential. He remarked in Kosuth’s works frequently reference Sigmund Freud ‘s psycho-analysis and Ludwig Wittgenstein ‘s philosophy of language.
His first conceptual work Leaning Glassconsisted of an object, a photograph of it and dictionary definitions of the words denoting it. The works in this series took the form of photostat reproductions of dictionary definitions  of words such as “water”, “meaning”, and “idea”.
Accompanying these photographic images are certificates of documentation and ownership not for display indicating that the works can be made and remade for exhibition purposes.
One of his most famous works is One and Three Chairs. The piece features mosuth physical chair, a photograph of that chair, and the text of a dictionary definition of the word “chair”. The photograph is a representation of the actual chair situated agtist the floor, in the foreground of the work.
The definition, posted on the same wall as the photograph, delineates in words the concept of what a chair is, in its various incarnations. In this and other, similar works, Four Colors Four Words and Glass One and ThreeKosuth forwards tautological statements, where the works literally are what they say they are.
As a result, it has since been translated into 14 languages, and included in a score of anthologies. It also for him concluded at the time what he had learned from Wittgenstein—dosed with Walter Benjamin among others—as applied to that very transitional moment in art. Although he is now very critical of its implicit postivism, no one can deny how effective it was at the time.
In the early s, concerned with his “ethnocentricity as a white, male artist”, Kosuth enrolled in the New School to study anthropology. As he said to friends at the time: He found that he was, as he put it: He spent time in the Peruvian Amazon with the Yagua [check spelling] Indians living deep into the Peruvian side of the Amazon basin. He also lived in an area of Australia some hundreds of kilometers north of Alice Springs with an Aboriginal tribe that, before they were re-located four years previously from an area farther north, not known tbe the existence of white people.
He also spent time in the Trobriand islands with the aboriginal tribe that Malinowski had studied and wrote on.
Hung on walls painted his signature dark gray, Kosuth’s josseph, large photomontages trace a kind of artistic and intellectual autobiography. Each consists of a photograph of one of the artist’s own older works or installations, overlaid in top and bottom corners by two passages of philosophical prose quoted from intellectuals identified only by initials they include Jacques DerridaMartin Buber and Julia Kristeva.
This installation included tables in a anthropolpgist to present text somewhat symptomatic of the cultures of which they both came from. Since Kosuth has also begun working on various permanent public commissions. After projects at public buildings such as the Deutsche Bundesbankthe Parliament House, Stockholmand the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital RegionKosuth was commissioned to propose a work for the newly renovated Bundestag inhe designed a floor installation with texts by Ricarda Huch and Thomas Mann for the.
Incelebrating the work of Charles DarwinKosuth created a commission in the library where Darwin was inspired to pursue his evolutionary theory. Currently Professor at Istituto Universitario di ArchitetturaVenice, Kosuth has functioned as visiting professor and guest lecturer koeuth various universities and institutions for nearly forty years, some of which include: Yale University ; Cornell University: In his essay “Art after Philosophy” he argued that art is the continuation of philosophywhich he saw at an end.
He was unable to define art in so far as such a definition would destroy his private self-referential definition of art.
Like the Situationistshe rejected formalism as an exercise in aestheticswith its function to be aesthetic. Formalism, he said, limits the possibilities for art with minimal josepu effort put forth by the formalist. Further, since concept is overlooked by the formalist, “Formalist criticism is no more than an analysis of the physical attributes of particular objects which happen to exist in a morphological context”.
He further argues that the “change from ‘appearance’ to ‘conception’ which begins with Duchamp’s first unassisted readymade was the beginning of ‘modern art’ and the beginning of ‘ conceptual art ‘.
They are linguistic in character because they express definitions of art. This makes them anthropologust. Art After Philosophy and After Collected Writings, reveals between the lines a definition of “art” of which Joseph Kosuth meant to assure us.
These words, like actual works of art, are little more than historical curiosities, but the concept becomes a machine that hte the art beneficial, modest, rustic, contiguous, and humble.
Inthe Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and the Kunsthalle Bielefeld organized another major Kosuth retrospective. He continued to exhibit in Venice during the Biennale from onwards, with the European Cultural Centre. His most recent exhibition with aryist organisation was inwhere he exhibited in Palazzo Bembo.
After giving a work in to the Sigmund Freud MuseumVienna, Kosuth, heavily influenced by Freud, invited other artists to do likewise; today the museum owns 13 works by 13 Freud-influenced Conceptualists. In response to the debate surrounding conservative attacks on the National Endowment for the Arts in Kosuth organized an exhibition entitled “A Play of the Unmentionable” focusing on issues of censorship and using works from the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Joseph Kosuth – Wikipedia
The works’ sometimes extensive labels were written by their curators, while the larger type statements emanated from various art historians, philosophers and social critics. Kosuth was awarded a Cassandra Foundation Grant in anthropklogist, at the age of 23, as the choice of Marcel Duchamp one week before he died. Inin honour of his work, the French government issued a 3-franc postage stamp in Figeac. InKosuth was awarded the Austrian Republic’s highest honour for accomplishments in science and culture, the Decoration of Honour in Gold.
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