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The Synthetic PropositionConceptualism and the Political Referent in Contemporary Art$
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Nizan Shaked

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784992750

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784992750.001.0001

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Conceptual Art and identity politics: from the 1960s to the 1990s

Conceptual Art and identity politics: from the 1960s to the 1990s

Chapter:
(p.27) 1 Conceptual Art and identity politics: from the 1960s to the 1990s
Source:
The Synthetic Proposition
Author(s):

Nizan Shaked

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781784992750.003.0002

This chapter asks how a precisely articulated set of practices, defined by artists in the 1960s as Conceptual Art, evolve into a broad notion of conceptualism, and how the latter had expanded into its present forms. It shows how, in the United States context, some of the most important strategies of conceptualism developed through the influence of contemporaneous politics, more specifically the transition from Civil Rights into Black Power, the New Left, the anti-war movement, feminism, and gay liberation, as well as what later came to be collectively named “identity politics” in the 1970s. A range of artists who have self-defined as conceptualists synthesised Conceptual analytic approaches with an outlook on identity formation as a means of political agency, and not as a representation of the self, a strategy that significantly expanded in the 1970s. Two major aspects of identity politics have impacted the field. The first, activist and administrative, consisted of protests against existing institutions, the developments of action groups and collectives, and the subsequent formulation of alternative spaces. The second was the bearing that it had on artistic strategy, form, and subject matter. This chapter focuses on practices that took a critical outlook on identity formation.

Keywords:   Contemporary Art, Conceptualism, Identity Politics, Multiculturalism, Political art, Synthetic Proposition, Joseph Kosuth, Adrian Piper, David Hammons, Renee Green

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