Conceptual Performance and Conceptual

You’ll be hearing about this topic for the next week or so…

Conceptual Art, to be specific.

After attending the opening night for the Spread exhibition, which is currently showing at the SOMArts Cultural Center (San Francisco, CA), I’ve been thinking quite a bit about conceptual art. I’ve been asking myself why I enjoy it so much.

Conceptual work makes sense of the world. With all its antics, it’s a movement that evolves, grows rapidly, and is reflective of the times.

Some may see conceptual art as rebellion and departure from tradition, which, for some, ceases to be art. With its lack of representational images functioning as the device from which to begin understanding, conceptual work is an extrapolation on complex ideas and in many cases, the viewer is required to participate in some aspect of the work. There’s a particular type of engagement that gives conceptual art its pulse. From our perception of sound to notions of politics and society to the human condition, conceptual art has something for everyone. Yes, I’m serious. It really does.

Over the next few days (maybe week, it really depends), I will be taking a look at the Spread show much more closely and spending a bit more time fleshing out the relationships between the artists and the works and how the vanguard artists are viewing their legacy in a new generation of conceptual artists.

More to follow…

By Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina American writer, artist, and educator whose academic and research interests include feminist media histories, critical medical anthropology, technology, race, and ethics. She is a Ph.D. student in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellow. She received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts and holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco. Her work as been exhibited at Ars Electronica, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the GLBT Historical Society.

Her writing appears in art21, Art in America, Ars Technica, Hyperallergic, Rhizome, Vice Motherboard, and SF MOMA’s Open Space. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture. She is a co-founder of REFRESH, a politically-engaged art and curatorial collective and serves as the Executive Director for the Processing Foundation.

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