More quotes Summary of Joseph Kosuth Joseph Kosuth was one of the originators of Conceptual art in the mids, which became a major movement that thrived into the s and remains influential. He pioneered the use of words in place of visual imagery of any kind and explored the relationship between ideas and the images and words used to convey them. His series of One and Three installations , in which he assembled an object, a photograph of that object, and an enlarged photographic copy of the dictionary definition of it, explored these relationships directly. His enlarged photostats of dictionary definitions in his series Art as Idea as Idea eliminated objects and images completely in order to focus on meaning conveyed purely with language. Since the s, he has made numerous site-specific installations that continue to explore how we experience, comprehend, and respond to language.

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Art After Philosophy Joseph Kosuth The fact that it has recently become fashionable for physicists themselves to be sympathetic toward religion. Traditional philosophy, almost by definition, has concerned itself with the unsaid. The nearly exclusive focus on the said by twentieth-century analytical linguistic philosophers is the shared contention that the unsaid is unsaid because it is unsayable. Hegelian philosophy made sense in the nineteenth century and must have been soothing to a century that was barely getting over Hume, the Enlightenment, and Kant.

Perhaps this can be answered by looking into the difference between our time and the centuries preceding us. Often in fact, the closeness between science and philosophy was so great that scientists and philosophers were one and the same person. That perhaps he knows too much about the world to make those kinds of conclusions?

As Sir James Jeans has stated:. When philosophy has availed itself of the results of science, it has not been by borrowing the abstract mathematical description of the pattern of events, but by borrowing the then current pictorial description of this pattern; thus it has not appropriated certain knowledge but conjectures.

These conjectures were often good enough for the man-sized world, but not, as we now know, for those ultimate processes of nature which control the happenings of the man-sized world, and bring us nearest to the true nature of reality.

The scientific basis of these older discussions has been washed away, and with their disappearance have gone all the arguments. Though the same reasons may be responsible for both occurrences, the connection is made by me. Half or more of the best new work in the last few years has been neither painting nor sculpture. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art. Art is art-as-art and everything else is everything else.

Art as art is nothing but art. Art is not what is not art. The meaning is the use. A more functional approach to the study of concepts has tended to replace the method of introspection. Instead of attempting to grasp or describe concepts bare, so to speak, the psychologist investigates the way in which they function as ingredients in beliefs and in judgments.

Meaning is always a presupposition of function. Von Wright. Thinking is radically metaphoric. Linkage by analogy is its constituent law or principle, its causal nexus, since meaning only arises through the causal contexts by which a sign stands for takes the place of an instance of a sort. It takes no hold if there is nothing for it to haul from, for its thinking is the haul, the attraction of likes —I. It is necessary to separate aesthetics from art because aesthetics deals with opinions on perception of the world in general.

Thus, judgments on what it looks like correspond to taste, and we can see that throughout history different examples of architecture are praised at different times depending on the aesthetics of particular epochs.

Above all things Clement Greenberg is the critic of taste. Behind every one of his decisions is an aesthetic judgment, with those judgments reflecting his taste. And what does his taste reflect? If one looks at contemporary art in this light one realizes the minimal creative effort taken on the part of formalist artists specifically, and all painters and sculptors working as such today generally. This brings us to the realization that formalist art and criticism accepts as a definition of art one that exists solely on morphological grounds.

Formalist criticism is no more than an analysis of the physical attributes of particular objects that happen to exist in a morphological context. And neither does it comment on whether or not the objects analyzed are even works of art, in that formalist critics always bypass the conceptual element in works of art. If one is questioning the nature of painting, one cannot be questioning the nature of art.

If an artist accepts painting or sculpture he is accepting the tradition that goes with it. Painting is a kind of art. If you make paintings you are already accepting not questioning the nature of art. One is then accepting the nature of art to be the European tradition of a painting-sculpture dichotomy. And this questioning of the nature of art is a very important concept in understanding the function of art.

The function of art, as a question, was first raised by Marcel Duchamp. In fact it is Marcel Duchamp whom we can credit with giving art its own identity. With the unassisted Ready-made, art changed its focus from the form of the language to what was being said. Which means that it changed the nature of art from a question of morphology to a question of function. All art after Duchamp is conceptual in nature because art only exists conceptually. Such an argument is the case of a preconceived notion ordering together not necessarily related facts.

The point is this: aesthetics, as we have pointed out, are conceptually irrelevant to art. In other words, the value of Cubism — for instance — is its idea in the realm of art, not the physical or visual qualities seen in a specific painting, or the particularization of certain colors or shapes. Louis as it is seen in the Smithsonian Institution. Actual works of art are little more than historical curiosities. What is the function of art, or the nature of art? Works of art are analytic propositions.

That is, if viewed within their context — as art — they provide no information whatsoever about any matter of fact. Another way of stating, in relation to art, what Ayer asserted about the analytic method in the context of language would be the following: The validity of artistic propositions is not dependent on any empirical, much less any aesthetic, presupposition about the nature of things.

For the artist, as an analyst, is not directly concerned with the physical properties of things. He is concerned only with the way 1 in which art is capable of conceptual growth and 2 how his propositions are capable of logically following that growth.

Accordingly, we can say that art operates on a logic. For we shall see that the characteristic mark of a purely logical inquiry is that it is concerned with the formal consequences of our definitions of art and not with questions of empirical fact. On the other hand, let us consider why art cannot be or has difficulty when it attempts to be a synthetic proposition.

Or, that is to say, when the truth or falsity of its assertion is verifiable on empirical grounds. Ayer states:. The criterion by which we determine the validity of an a priori or analytical proposition is not sufficient to determine the validity of an empirical or synthetic proposition. For it is characteristic of empirical propositions that their validity is not purely formal.

To say that a geometrical proposition, or a system of geometrical propositions, is false, is to say that it is self-contradictory. But an empirical proposition, or a system of empirical propositions, may be free from contradiction and still be false.

It is said to be false, not because it is formally defective, but because it fails to satisfy some material criterion. It would be a mere ejaculation, in no way characterizing that to which it was supposed to refer.

If Pollock is important it is because he painted on loose canvas horizontally to the floor. His work certainly appears to be empirically verifiable: lead can do, and be used for, many physical activities. In itself this does anything but lead us into a dialogue about the nature of art.

In a sense then he is a primitive. He has no idea about art. That he denies his work is art but plays the artist is more than just a paradox. Thus, as Ayer has stated: There are no absolutely certain empirical propositions. It is only tautologies that are certain. Empirical questions are one and all hypotheses, which may be confirmed or discredited in actual sense experience.

And the propositions in which we record the observations that verify these hypotheses are themselves hypotheses which are subject to the test of further sense experience. Thus there is no final proposition. But to consider it as art it is necessary to ignore this same outside information, because outside information experiential qualities, to note has its own intrinsic worth. After all, man in even the nineteenth century lived in a fairly standardized visual environment.

That is, it was ordinarily predictable as to what he would be coming into contact with day after day. His visual environment in the part of the world in which he lived was fairly consistent.

In our time we have an experientially drastically richer environment. One can fly all over the earth in a matter of hours and days, not months. We have the cinema, and color television, as well as the man-made spectacle of the lights of Las Vegas or the skyscrapers of New York City. The whole world is there to be seen, and the whole world can watch man walk on the moon from their living rooms. Certainly art or objects of painting and sculpture cannot be expected to compete experientially with this?

The difference between all the various uses of the box or cube form is directly related to the differences in the intentions of the artists. A few examples will point this out. We see now that the axioms of a geometry are simply definitions, and that the theorems of a geometry are simply the logical consequences of these definitions. But we can use a geometry to reason about physical space. That is to say, once we have given the axioms a physical interpretation, we can proceed to apply the theorems to the objects which satisfy the axioms.

Whether a geometry can be applied to the actual physical world or not, is an empirical question which falls outside the scope of geometry itself. There is no sense, therefore, in asking which of the various geometries known to us are false and which are true. Insofar as they are all free from contradiction, they are all true. The proposition which states that a certain application of a geometry is possible is not itself a proposition of that geometry.

All that the geometry itself tells us is that if anything can be brought under the definitions, it will also satisfy the theorems.

It is therefore a purely logical system, and its propositions are purely analytic propositions. Ayer26 Here then I propose rests the viability of art.


Art After Philosophy and After

Traditional philosophy, almost by definition, has concerned itself with the unsaid. The nearly exclusive focus on the said by twentieth-century analytical linguistic philosophers is the shared contention that the unsaid is unsaid because it is unsayable. Hegelian philosophy made sense in the nineteenth century and must have been soothing to a century that was barely getting over Hume, the Enlightenment, and Kant. Though the same reasons may be responsible for both occurences the connection is made by me. Art is art-as-art and everything else is everything else.


Joseph Kosuth

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.


Art after Philosophy – Joseph Kosuth


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