Alberro Chapter 2

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S.R.: I agree that it's a misunderstanding because, as you said before, for me conceptual art is much more something like a discourse, and the discourse is working with some different modes of display.

A.A.: Yes, exactly. On the other hand [...] the more arguments, the better. I really believe that. I want people to develop views that are not mine. And of course they will, because mine is actually a very particular view of conceptualism. I mean some people say I dealt with the Fab Four, I dealt with the one group of conceptual artists that became to be known as the conceptual artists because they [...] kind of monopolized the term »conceptual art«. I actually tried to show how they did monopolize that term and how it was not by accident that they came to be the representatives of conceptual art. And the people I mean are the people around Siegelaub: Kosuth, Weiner, Douglas Huebler and Robert Barry in particular. [...] and how other discourses of conceptualism such as that proposed by Sol Lewitt who published a very important manifesto in 1967, get kind of pushed aside. [...] Joseph Kosuth's essays are crucial here because he's the one that actually already in 1969 says, there are real conceptual artists and then there are post-minimal artists and then there are those other ones.

S.R.: This was also a strategy of exclusion. In his very famous essay »Art After Philosophy« he said that these artists are not involved in conceptual art, they are narrative or whatever.

A.A.: [...] I think that a lot of people were extremely upset by that kind of argument. That essay is highly polemical, the "Art After Philosophy", it's a three-part essay. And I think he has never really recovered from that in terms of his friendships because a lot of people were very upset. On the other hand, he was 23 years old at the time, and if you read that essay, for a 23 year-old guy writing it, as much as I don't get along with Joseph Kosuth which I don't, [...] I mean there is a history there, you have to at least say, if I had a student at 23, that was writing like that, it might be very polemical and highly ideologically problematic, but you still have to say, well, good, there is a potential here. That he did not follow up on that potential is another issue [...] that we don't want to get into here.


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