Joseph Kosuth: A Short His­to­ry of My Thought

Tiarney Miekus
Art Guide Australia, 6 October 2017
Amer­i­can artist Joseph Kosuth once said of his work, All I make are mod­els. The actu­al works of art are ideas.” As a lead­ing fig­ure in con­cep­tu­al art since the 1960s, Kosuth’s bold neon state­ments, self-ref­er­en­tial signs and min­i­mal­ist instal­la­tions are fuelled by his thoughts and philo­soph­i­cal under­pin­nings. Anna Schwartz is pre­sent­ing a range of Kosuth’s text and neon light works, from the last 50 years, as part of Mel­bourne Fes­ti­val 2017. The ret­ro­spec­tive show, A Short His­to­ry of My Thought, strings togeth­er words, phras­es, dia­grams, images and quotes. This includes one of Kosuth’s well-known ear­ly works from 1965: the word neon” shin­ing in white neon on a black wall. The exhi­bi­tion also includes more recent pieces such as (Wait­ing for-) Texts for Noth­ing #6, 1999, which quotes Samuel Beck­ett who said, To be an artist is to fail, as no oth­er dare fail.” The show also high­lights Kosuth’s pen­chant for lan­guage games, as well as the artist’s cul­tur­al allu­sions and appro­pri­a­tions (in this case Beck­ett, Freud, Mon­dri­an and Dar­win, as well as news­pa­per com­ic strips).

As gal­lerist Anna Schwartz says, The exhi­bi­tion pro­vides an oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­sid­er how Kosuth’s work, for more than five decades, has engaged with major thinkers, writ­ers, philoso­phers and poets, select­ing appo­site and salient phras­es and thoughts to present these as res­o­nant con­cepts; as an artwork.”


Lan­guage is a key cor­ner­stone of Kosuth’s con­cep­tu­al mis­sion. The artist uses words and phras­es to recon­fig­ure the rela­tion­ship between ideas and how they are for­mal­ly expressed. Kosuth’s work con­sid­ers how art is cre­at­ed, while also seek­ing to under­stand how we con­struct mean­ing and arrive at aes­thet­ic judge­ments. For Kosuth, ques­tions about art can­not be answered with writ­ing, reflec­tions or crit­i­cism, but with art itself. In an 1996 arti­cle titled Inten­tion’ Kosuth wrote, Texts about art­works are expe­ri­enced dif­fer­ent­ly than texts that are art works.” Through such rig­or­ous ded­i­ca­tion to con­cep­tu­al­ism, Kosuth has cre­at­ed a body of work that is known for both push­ing and divid­ing audi­ences. View­ers of this work may be chal­lenged, pro­voked, amused,” says Schwartz. Yet they will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see the work of one of the great liv­ing artists of the era they live in and to think about it.” A Short His­to­ry of My Thought Joseph Kosuth Anna Schwartz Gallery 7 Octo­ber – 25 November Pic­tured: JOSEPH KOSUTH, Neon’, 1965. White neon mount­ed direct­ly on the wall, 1240 cm. Cour­tesy Joseph Kosuth and Anna Schwartz Gallery.
Filter

STIEG PERS­SON, EMI­LY FLOYD: LIV­ING TOGETHER

Bendi­go Art Gallery presents an instal­la­tion of select­ed con­tem­po­rary works from the col­lec­tion will […]

Read More

SHAUN GLAD­WELL, JAN NEL­SON & VIVI­ENNE SHARK LEWITT: MEL­BOURNE NOW

The sec­ond edi­tion of Mel­bourne Now will be pre­sent­ed at The Ian Pot­ter Centre […]

Read More

EMI­LY FLOYD: KNOWL­EDGE POWER

Shang­hai Library East by Schmidt Ham­mer Lassen Archi­tects has opened, one of the largest […]

Read More

EMI­LY FLOYD: BUT­TER­FLY KITES

Shang­hai Library East by Schmidt Ham­mer Lassen Archi­tects has opened, one of the largest […]

Read More

JOHN NIXON: MONOCHROME/PIANO 1992

Pre­sent­ed in the Fitzroy Town Hall by Con­nors Con­nors, John Nixon’s Monochrome/​Piano 1992 is […]

Read More

DANIEL CROOKS: BOUND­ARY CONDITIONS

Bound­ary Con­di­tions is an ambi­tious video work that seam­less­ly weaves togeth­er an alter­nate world […]

Read More

ROSE NOLAN: HAL­LAM STATION

YOU/ME/US/HERE/NOW is an open, pos­i­tive and bold text-based propo­si­tion for peo­ple to con­sid­er as […]

Read More

ANGEL­I­CA MESI­TI: STILL LIFE

In Still Life, imag­i­na­tion and empir­i­cal obser­va­tion unite in con­tem­pla­tion of life’s inter­con­nect­ed­ness. Exquisite […]

Read More

AMRI­TA HEPI: THE ANGUIL­LA PURSUIT

Agency Projects and Com­pos­ite: Mov­ing Image Agency & Media Bank have part­nered to present an […]

Read More

CAL­LUM MOR­TON: CITY LIGHTS

Cal­lum Mor­ton’s newest pub­lic art­work,​‘City Lights’, launch­es on the back façade of the […]

Read More

LAU­REN BRIN­CAT: TUT­TI PRESTO FFF

Oscil­lat­ing between sound, per­for­mance and chore­og­ra­phy, Lau­ren Brincat’s live sculp­ture, Tut­ti Presto FFF, reinterprets […]

Read More

WAR­WICK THORN­TON: EVER PRESENT: First Peo­ples Art of Australia

War­wick Thorn­ton has been includ­ed in Ever Present: First Peo­ples Art of Aus­tralia: an […]

Read More

JAN NEL­SON: LIS­TEN­ING TO MUSIC PLAYED BACKWARDS

Lis­ten­ing to Music Played Back­wards: Recent Acqui­si­tions cel­e­brates works in the Hei­de col­lec­tion acquired […]

Read More

DANIEL CROOKS: STRUC­TURED LIGHT

Daniel Crooks has been com­mis­sioned to illu­mi­nate the Nation­al Gallery’s façade for the 202 […]

Read More

SHAUN GLAD­WELL: NEW AUS­TRALIAN PRINTMAKING

New Aus­tralian Print­mak­ing launch­es ground­break­ing new work cre­at­ed by Shaun Glad­well, Megan Cope, Tim […]

Read More

WAR­WICK THORN­TON: METH KEL­LYPHO­TO 2022

PHO­TO 2022 and Anna Schwartz Gallery will present Meth Kel­ly by War­wick Thorn­ton for […]

Read More

ROSE NOLAN: PAR­LOUR GAMESANNA SCHWARTZ GALLERY

Rose Nolan Big Words (Not Mine) – Tran­scend the pover­ty of par­tial vision (floor […]

Read More

Lau­ren Brin­cat: Con­ver­sa­tions on Shad­ow Architecture’

Lau­ren Brin­cat is includ­ed in Con­ver­sa­tions on Shad­ow Archi­tec­ture, a project curat­ed by Ineke Dane […]

Read More

Shaun Glad­well: 2022 Ade­laide Bien­ni­al of Aus­tralian Art: Free/​State

Shaun Glad­well has been select­ed along with 25 lead­ing Aus­tralian con­tem­po­rary artists to participate […]

Read More

Cal­lum Mor­ton & Mar­co Fusina­to: All That Was Sol­id Melts’ at Auck­land Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

All That Was Sol­id Melts takes us on a jour­ney from iso­la­tion through the multiple […]

Read More

Daniel Von Sturmer: Time in Mate­r­i­al (RGB)’ at The Cen­tre for Pro­jec­tion Art, Colling­wood Yards

Daniel Von Sturmer’s sin­gle chan­nel video work Time in Mate­r­i­al (RGB), 2019 is presented […]

Read More

Angel­i­ca Mesi­ti: Choose Hap­pi­ness’ Mur­ray Art Muse­um Albury

Hap­pi­ness is by its very nature ephemer­al. Some­times it is a state that we might […]

Read More

GABRIEL­LA MANGANO & SIL­VANA MANGANO: The Oth­er Por­trait, curat­ed by Julie Rrap and Cher­ine Fahd at SCA Gallery

The Oth­er Por­trait brings togeth­er work by artists who have an estab­lished rela­tion­ship to […]

Read More

David Noo­nan: Stage­craft’ cat­a­logue wins MAP­DA 2021 award for Best Small Exhi­bi­tion Catalogue

David Noo­nan: Stage­craft, designed by Ben Cox and pub­lished on the occa­sion of the […]

Read More