Art ID1206
Classification Installation  
Artist Joseph Kosuth  
Title of Work A Play: News from Kafka and a Quote 
Print Issue  
Date Made 1991  
Dimensions: (in inches) Height: 60     Width: 48     

14 versions; silkscreen text installation 

Biographical information?

Joseph Kosuth (born January 31, 1945) is an influential American conceptual artist.

His work generally strives to explore the nature of art, focusing on ideas at the fringe of art rather than on producing art per se. Thus his art is very self-referential, and a typical statement of his goes:

"The 'value' of particular artists after Duchamp can be weighed according to how much they questioned the nature of art."
One of his most famous works is "One and Three Chairs", a visual expression of Plato's concept of The Forms. The piece features a physical chair, a photograph of that chair, and the text of a dictionary definition of the word "chair". All three representations are merely physical abstractions of the one true idea of the chair, thus the piece is both the three physical representations of a chair, and the one universal notion of a chair.

In an addition to his artwork, he has written several books on the nature of art and artists, including Artist as Anthropologist. In his essay "Art after Philosophy" (1969), he argued that art is the continuation of philosophy, which he saw at an end. Like the Situationists, he rejected formalism as an exercise in aesthetics, with its function to be aesthetic. Formalism, he said, limits the possibilities for art with minimal creative effort put forth by the formalist. Further, since concept is overlooked by the formalist, "Formalist criticism is no more than an analysis of the physical attributes of particular objects which happen to exist in a morphological context". He further argues that the "change from 'appearance' to 'conception' (which begins with Duchamp's first unassisted readymade) was the beginning of 'modern art' and the beginning of 'conceptual art'." Kosuth once declared that art is art if someone calls it art; he explains that works of conceptual art are analytic propositions. They are linguistic in character because they express definitions of art. This makes them tautological. In this vein is another of his well-known pieces: In Figeac, Lot, France, on the "Place des écritures" (writings place) is a giant copy of the Rosetta stone



Note Located on the 9th floor