Baldessari Chapter 2

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S.R.: If we consider this development in your own work, in my perspective it's very strongly going in this direction what we now consider as Conceptual art. That is not a small group of artists in one gallery. I think it's much more something like a big break in the history or the tradition of art. Very important for that was the combination of images, of pictures and text, sometimes on different layers, sometimes parallel. How was your reception of the critique that was set from Joseph Kosuth in the beginning of the 70s from New York where he tried to exclude a lot of artists, which from our point of perspective are absolutely Conceptual artists?

J.B.: [...] I thought it was a nice attempt on his part to make a very narrow definition of Conceptual art. I had no quarrel with that. I just thought there could be more to Conceptual art than just that. I remember a colleague at the time, Douglas Huebler, asking Joseph, he said what would you call that, radical Conceptual art or a radicon? [...] and trying to make fun of it. But I think you are right. I've always seen it as some kind of break, a paradigm break, a shift. Let's say, going from the handmade object, let's say. into something that's more Duchampian, I think, where the artist strategizes rather than literally makes the works. [...] My idea of Conceptual art has always been... including Minimal art as well, I never saw them as two separate categories, Minimal art and Conceptual art. All those artists were talking to one another. There was a break between painters and Minimal and Conceptual artists, but I can never quite separate Minimal artists from Conceptual artists. [...] I have a hard time separating modernism from post-modernism. You think [...] and then when you start to talk about it, it gets very messy.


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