Conceptual art

	Joseph Kosuth One and three tables 1965
  • 	Joseph Kosuth One and three tables 1965
  • 	Sol LeWitt Wall drawing #338 1971
  • 	Mark Dion The return (a cosmological cabinet for New South Wales) 2008

Questions and activities

  • The artists listed here have challenged the public’s understanding of what art is and what should be exhibited in a gallery. What is your reaction to these works? Do you find them controversial, challenging, funny? Why? Imagine you are a curator at the Gallery and develop a case for the inclusion of one of these works in the collection.
  • Marcel Duchamp is often considered to be conceptual art’s forefather. He once said that 'a title is an extra colour in an artist’s palette’. What does this mean? Look at each artwork and then its title. Does knowing the title change your understanding of the work? If so, how did it change? Can you think of a new title for each of these works? How do the new titles change the work’s meaning?
  • Choose one conceptual artist on display and analyse the structure and composition of their work. What is your initial response to their art? After researching this artist further, does your opinion differ and, if so, how? Discuss how the work reflects contemporary art practice.
  • Consider Joseph Kosuth’s artwork One and three tables 1965. How has the artist combined ideas, materials and objects in this work? Conceive an idea for an artwork based on the world around you. Consider the ideas, materials or objects you will use. How will your artwork be displayed?
  • Research the art practice of Mark Dion. How has Dion extended our understanding of the role of the artist? Have the relationships between the artist, audience and art world been questioned? What is your opinion of his approach?