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Modern Artists in Conceptual Art

Below are biographies and analysis of the work of the artists central to the Conceptual Art movement. Read more about the movement on the Conceptual Art Overview page.

Conceptual Art: 18 of 187 Total Artists

Ai Weiwei

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Ai Weiwei is a Chinese Conceptual artist and activist. His pieces explore many themes, including history, society, human rights, and the freedom of speech. Weiwei's open critique of the Chinese government has caused him many problems with Chinese authorities and challenged the establishment in an epic way.

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Baldessari, John

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John Baldessari, born in 1931, is an American conceptual artist. He often combines image and languages in his art. His early works were canvas paintings that were empty except for painted statements derived from contemporary art theory. His juxtaposition of image and text is reminiscent of Rene Magritte's surrealist paintings.

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Benglis, Lynda

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Lynda Benglis is an American artist associated with process-based and anti-form art. Best known for her floor-based "spills" and latex sculptures, she adds a critical feminist perspective to post-minimalist work.

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Beuys, Joseph

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Joseph Beuys was a German multi- and mixed-media artist best known for incorporating ideas of humanism, social philosophy and politics into his art. Beuys practiced everything from installation and performance art to traditional painting and "social sculpture." He was continually motivated by the belief of universal human creativity.

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Burden, Chris

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American performance artist Chris Burden is most known for his 1970s works that placed him in extreme danger, such as being shot in the arm by an assistant or being crucified on the back of a car.

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De Maria, Walter

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Walter de Maria is an American sculptor, composer, and multi-media artist. His works have been characterized as Minimalist, Installation, Land art, Neo-Dada, and Conceptualist. De Maria's best known work is The Lightning Field (1977), consisting of 400 lightning rods situated on a field in New Mexico.

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Duchamp, Marcel

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The French artist Marcel Duchamp was an instrumental figure in the avant-garde art worlds of Paris and New York. Moving through Dada, Surrealism, readymades, sculpture, and installation, his work involves conceptual play and an implicit attack on bourgeois art sensibilities.

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Holzer, Jenny

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Jenny Holzer is an American conceptual and mixed-media artist. Her work is best known for using a variety of text, propaganda imagery, sound, video and light, all of which she attempts to incorporate into public spaces, thus bringing artistic experience directly into the world.

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Johns, Jasper

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Jasper Johns is an American artist who rose to prominence in the late 1950s for his multi-media constructions, dubbed by critics as Neo-Dada. Johns' work, including his world-famous targets and American flags series, were important predecessors to Pop art.

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Kaprow, Allan

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Allan Kaprow was an American painter, collagist, assemblagist and performance artist. Kaprow was best known for trailblazing the artistic concept "happenings," which were experiential artistic events rather than single works of art.

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Kosuth, Joseph

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Joseph Kosuth was one of the originators of Conceptual art in the mid-1960s, when 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.

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LeWitt, Sol

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Sol LeWitt was an American artist commonly associated with the Minimalist and Conceptual movements. He rose to prominence in the 1960s with the likes of Rauschenberg, Johns and Stella, and his work was included in the famous 1966 exhibit Primary Structures at the Jewish Museum. LeWitt's art often employed simple geometric forms and archetypal symbols, and he worked in a variety of media but was most interested in the idea behind the artwork.

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Nauman, Bruce

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Bruce Nauman is a contemporary American artist concerned with language, process, manipulation, and the registers of irony. His work includes performance, video, installation, neon sculpture, and other materials.

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Ono, Yoko

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Yoko Ono is a Japanese-American artist, musician, author, and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking as well as her marriage to the lendary John Lennon. Ono was highly succcesful iin bringing feminism to the forefront of the art world through her performance and conceptual pieces.

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Rauschenberg, Robert

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Robert Rauschenberg, a key figure in early Pop Art, admired the textural quality of Abstract Expressionism but scorned its emotional pathos. His famous "Combines" are part sculpture, part painting, and part installation.

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Reinhardt, Ad

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Ad Reinhardt was an American abstract artist whose monochromatic canvases show side-by-side rectangles painted in subtle variations of the same color. Very much part of the New York scene in the 1940s, he nonetheless scorned the label and gestural ethos of Abstract Expressionism.

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Walker, Kara

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Kara Walker is a contemporary African-American artist who explores race, gender, sexuality, violence and identity in her work. She is best known for her room-size tableaux of black silhouettes.

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Warhol, Andy

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Andy Warhol was an American Pop artist best known for his prints and paintings of consumer goods, celebrities, and photographed disasters. One of the most famous and influential artists of the 1960s, he pioneered compositions and techniques that emphasized repetition and the mechanization of art.

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Conceptual Art: 18 of 187 Total Artists



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