Conceptual Art and Institutional Critique

Most critics point out the difficulty to define what conceptual art is. All art and most creative activities now are in one sense or another conceptual. According to Harrison the term ‘Conceptual Art’ first appeared in 1967 in special issue of the American magazine Art forum in the essay by Sol LeWitt ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art'. "When an artist uses a conceptual form of art,’ he wrote, ‘it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair... Conceptual art is only good when the idea is good."(Harrison, 2004)

Art is, according to Wood, about dematerialization of the object of art. The ‘work’ lay in idea. “It did not have to be physically realized in order to enjoy the status of ‘work of art".(Wood, 2002).

In chapter 1 of the book ‘Themes in contemporary art’ (2004) Paul Wood says that artists begin to see that they can free themselves from the tradition that there is the painting or sculpture and they have to fit into one or another of those clear categories.  Artists start to ask questions about various relationships between the object and the institutional structure that presents this object to the world.