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Post-conceptual Britain

The Turner Prize is for conceptual art without concepts. It reflects a distinctly British art form - accessible, slight and full of cheerful hedonism

By Christopher Lord   December 2002

The basic idea behind conceptual art is simple enough. Rather than producing a concrete work of art, the artist produces a concept, and documents it with drawings, texts, photographs, sheep or whatever. The artist then meets the plebeian mockery of the incredulous with a superior glance-after all, he remains the sole curator of his concept and who, in this egalitarian age, is to say that it is not a thing of sublime beauty? As a historical phenomenon, conceptual art is as legitimate as anything else, and its practitioners are not charlatans. Quite the reverse: since its emergence in the 1960s,…

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