Art-Language

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Scratched photograph of the cover of Art-Language, Vol.3 No.1, 1974.

Art-Language was a journal of important influence on conceptual art in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has been published by Art & Language Press from november 1969 (subtitled The Journal of conceptual art) to 1985. Created by David Bainbridge, Harold Hurrell, Terry Atkinson and Michael Baldwin, it has given his name to the movement Art & Language. It has involved artists such: Dan Graham, Lawrence Weiner, Sol LeWitt, Ian Burn, Mel Ramsden, Charles Harrison, Joseph Kosuth and Victor Burgin.

Volume 1 Number 1, november 1969 (subtitled The Journal of conceptual art)[edit]

  • ... the first Cubist painting might be said to have attempted to evince some outlines as to what visual art is, whilst, obviously, being held out as a work of visual art. But the difference here is one of what shall be called 'the form of the work'. Initially what conceptual art seems to be doing is questioning the condition that seems to rigidly govern the form of visual art -that visual art remains visual.
  • The question of 'recognition' is a crucial one here. There has been a constantly developping series of methods throughout the evolution of the art whereby the artist has attempted to construct various devices to ensure that his intention to count the object as an art object is recognised. This has not always been 'given' within the object itself.
    • 'Introduction', Art & Language, p.4.
  • Cubist paintings were paintings by definition, that is, they are constructed by adhering paint to a surface (two-dimensional by definition) and as such fulfilled the requirements of entry to the category 'painting'. The controversy concerning Cubist paintings, was not primarily about wether or not they were (physically) paintings, but rather wether or not their form (in paint) was viable, Cubist collages were questioned on both levels.
    • 'Introduction', Art & Language, p.5.
  • Atkinson and Baldwin through the development of a framework investigating the notion of declaring a temporal entity to be an art entity -'The Monday Show'. most of the conversation and writing concerning this idea soon reached a desultory level -it was unnecessary to attempt to provide an adequate analogy to a spatial entity, because it was quickly and clearly equivalent that there wasn't one. What has become clear to the artists since is that this work was a necessary form of development in pointing out the possibilities of a theoretical analysis as a method for (possibly) making art.
    • 'Introduction', Art & Language, p.10.
  • 32. Banal ideas cannot be rescued by beautiful execution.
    • 'Sentences on conceptual art', Sol LeWitt, p.13.
  • Sufficient conditions may be provably consistent without implying anything about the impossibility of vague cases or about tertium non datur. And it is no argument that vague concepts are not under constraint here. Formalizability is not an additional requirement over and above the coherence and extensibility of a set of beliefs.
    • 'Notes on M1', Michael Baldwin, p.23.

Volume 1 Number 2, february 1970[edit]

  • Fundamental to this idea of art (conceptual art) is the understanding of the linguistic nature of all art propositions, be they past or present, and regardless of the elements used in their construction. (note: Without this understanding a 'conceptual' form of presentation is little more than a manufactured stylehood, and such art we have with increasing abundance.)
    • 'Joseph Kosuth: Introductory note by the American editor', Joseph Kosuth, p.3.
  • Epistemologically, it is fallacious to insist that the artist doesn't know that 'a' is an art-object unless he can produce a criterion for art-objectness which will cater for odd, or controversial cases.
    • 'Michael Baldwin: plans and procedures', Michael Baldwin, p.17.
  • There appears to be no real relation of artist to art-object: and this notwithstanding the prospect of a clear account of verification; demontsration would still be difficult, and a clear purporting to describe the way something comes about would not ameliorate the situation. There would still be priority problems.
    • 'Michael Baldwin: plans and procedures', Michael Baldwin, p.18.
  • 1. Artists are exploring language to create acces to ways of seeing.
    • 'Ian Burn: dialogue', Ian Burn, p.22.
  • 3. Participating in a dialogue gives the viewer a new significance; rather than listening, he becomes involved in reproducing and inventing part of that dialogue.
    • 'Ian Burn: dialogue', Ian Burn, p.22.
  • The art-area appears to present propositions which are genealogically untraceable; any attempted systemization would be based on inference. (Inquiry into the sustaining framework of art really needs to be moved from the descriptive to the revisionary stage).
    • 'Mel Ramsden: notes on genealogies', Mel Ramsden, p.84.
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