Conceptual Art

Conceptual art can include just about any material: text, photography, found objects, and even the physical space of the gallery.

c. 1960 - present

Beginner's guide

The emergence of Conceptual art can be understood as part of an oppositional culture that envisioned a radically new world in the 1960s.

videos + essays

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<em>Pumpkin</em> by Yayoi Kusama
Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin (2016) is an 8-foot tall sculpture and installation at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Covered in the artist’s signature polka-dot effect, it embodies Kusama’s lifelong fascination with pumpkins and her investigation into themes of nature, fantasy, life and death. Join Melissa Chiu, Museum Director at the Hirshhorn Museum […]

The Case for Conceptual Art
The Case for Conceptual Art

Sometimes art is paintings, and sometimes it's a chair. Why?

Conceptual Art: An Introduction
Conceptual Art: An Introduction

Conceptualism questions art’s role as a showcase for the creative genius and technical abilities of the artist.

Joseph Kosuth, <em>One and Three Chairs</em>
Joseph Kosuth, One and Three Chairs

Kosuth wrote that “being an artist now means to question the nature of art.” Take a seat to find out how he did it.

The Case for Yoko Ono
The Case for Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono issued instructive prompts in both her art practice and anti-war activism.

Yayoi Kusama (Tate)
Yayoi Kusama (Tate)

Kusama’s experiments with infinity have earned her regard in New York, Japan, and the world over.

Nam June Paik, <em>Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii</em>
Nam June Paik, Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii

The “father of video art” argued that electronic communication, not transportation, unites the modern world.

Hans Haacke, <em>Seurat’s “Les Poseuses” (small version), 1884-1975</em>
Hans Haacke, Seurat’s “Les Poseuses” (small version), 1884-1975

Haacke documents the provenance of a Seurat sketch held in a bank vault to lay bare the commodification of art.

John Baldessari, <em>I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art</em>
John Baldessari, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art

Baldessari adopts a familiar school-room punishment as a promise to himself.

Yayoi Kusama, <em>Narcissus Garden</em>
Yayoi Kusama, Narcissus Garden

These metal balls draw attention to the economic system embedded in art, and the vanity of its viewers.

Bruce Nauman, <em>The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths</em>
Bruce Nauman, The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths

Using the medium of mass culture, Nauman brought high-brow questions about the role of art to broader society.

Selected Contributors