The idea becomes a machine that makes the art

Broadway and Vesey (When An Artist Uses A Conceptual Form Of Art) ©MAIERMOUL
Broadway and Vesey (When An Artist Uses A Conceptual Form Of Art) ©MAIERMOUL

I will refer to the kind of art in which I am involved as conceptual art. In conceptual the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work.*

* In other forms of art the concept may be changed in the process of execution.

When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art. This kind of art is not theoretical or illustrative of theories; it is intuitive, it is involved with all types of mental processes and it is purposeless. It is usually free from the dependence on the skill of the artist as a craftsman.

What the work of art looks like isn’t too important. It has to look like something if it has physical form. No matter what form it may finally have it must begin with an idea. It is the process of conception and realization with which the artist is concerned.

The work of art can be perceived only after it is completed.

– Sol Lewitt, Paragraphs on Art, Artforum, Vol. 5, No. 10, “American Sculpture,” June 1967