[Marxism] conceptual art & escaping capitalism 40 years on

Adam Turl adamcturl at gmail.com
Tue Sep 3 18:09:24 MDT 2013

Forty Years of Dematerialization
*2013 marks the fortieth anniversary of Lucy R. Lippard’s classic text on
conceptual art, Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from
1966 to 1972. Adam Turl submits some not entirely random notes on the state
of art forty years later. *
Forty years ago the writer and art critic Lucy Lippard produced her
definitive anthology of conceptual art, *Six Years: The Dematerialization
of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972*. Conceptual art, more of a moment than
movement, was one of art’s last great attempts to escape capitalism.

Conceptual art emphasized ideas, language and ephemeral performances. It
positioned itself against -- even as it grew out of -- the heroic scale of
minimalism, the “machismo” of abstraction and the commercialism of Pop art.
It sought to decouple art from object, and in so doing, separate art from
In the decades since 1973 such “utopian” dreams have been torn asunder by
daily grinds, the triumph of a worldwide art market and an ongoing
suspicion of “grand narratives” -- all of which are underpinned by global
neoliberal capitalism.
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