Conceptual Art

One of the most rigorous, authoritative surveys of this influential movement.

Edited by Peter Osborne


Price: USD$75.00

This book marks a new, original and authoritative re-examination of a major turning point in late twentieth-century art. Since the mid 1960s Conceptual art - an art that consists of ideas, written down, enacted or simply carried in your head - has directly challenged the very notion that a work of art is by definition an object of visual pleasure. Conceptual art is first and foremost an art of questions. As this book demonstrates, Conceptual art continues today to raise fundamental questions not only about the definition of art itself but about politics, the media and society.

Conceptual art, since its zenith from 1966 to 1972, has influenced not only all subsequent art but made a major contribution to the history of ideas. It, in turn, drew much of its inspiration from the writings of thinkers ranging from the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein to the playwright Samuel Beckett. For the first time, excerpts from these key influential writings are included alongside the major original texts by artists, critics, curators and art historians.

An international movement, Conceptual art encompasses not only North America and Western Europe but also South America, Eastern Europe, Russia, China and Japan. Its legacy is global, ranging from small local participatory projects to large-scale installations at major museums and biennales.

Survey Philosopher and art historian Peter Osborne traces Conceptual art's origins in Europe, Japan and the USA, its development throughout the 1960s and 70s, and its legacy in contemporary art.

provides an extensive colour plate section with extended captions for every artwork. Introducing the foundations with 'Pre-history: 1950-1960', chapters are then divided usefully into six distinctive types of Conceptual art - Instruction, Performance, Documentation; Process, System, Series; Word and Sign; Appropriation, Intervention, Everyday; Politics and Ideology; Institutional Critique - before concluding with 'Afterwards'.

Documents mirrors the Works section by chapter, including texts by philosophers and writers who crucially influenced the movement, alongside key original texts by artists, critics and art historians.


Format: Hardback
Size: 290 x 250 mm (11 3/8 x 9 7/8 in)
Pages: 304 pp
Illustrations: 0 illustrations
ISBN: 9780714839301

Peter Osborne is a critical theorist who has written widely on aesthetics, art theory and philosophy of contemporary art. He is Professor of Modern European Philosophy and Tutor on the Graduate Programme in Aesthetics and Art Theory at Middlesex University, London.

Osborne is the author of The Politics of Time: Modernity and the Avant-Garde (Verso, 1995) and Philosophy in Cultural Theory (Routledge, 2000). He was a contributor to Rewriting Conceptual Art (eds. Michael Newman and Jon Bird, Reaktion Books, 1999) and has edited several critical anthologies including A Critical Sense: Interviews with Intellectuals (Routledge, 1997) and From an Aesthetic Point of View: Philosophy, Art and the Senses (Serpent's Tail, 2000).

His current projects include Cultures of Abstraction, relating philosophical theories of abstraction (Hume, Kant, Hegel and Husserl) and spatio-temporal forms of 'actual abstraction' associated with the constitutive social forms of a global modernity (investigating the conceptual basis of global comparativism). He is also compiling Art Against Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays on Contemporary Art - Collectected Essays 2001-5.

 'Authoritative' (Christie’s Books)

'More than just a compilation of sources, documents, and images … Osborne offers an original, challenging, reinterpretation of Conceptual Art … a solid contribution to the burgeoning re-examination of Conceptual Art.' (Barry Schwabsky, BookForum)

Younger than Jesus
Andy Warhol ''Giant'' Size
The Art Book
The Story of Art
The Art Museum
Conceptual Art