Art & Language


Art & Language

Art & Language is a shifting collaboration among conceptual artists that has undergone many changes since its inception in the late 1960s.

The "Art & Language" group was founded in 1968 in the British by artists Terry Atkinson (b. 1939), David Bainbridge (b. 1941), Michael Baldwin (b. 1945) and Harold Hurrell (b. 1940), four artists who began collaborating around 1966 while teaching art in Coventry. Their early work, as well as their journal "Art-Language", first published in 1969, is regarded as an important influence on much conceptual art both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. The name of the group was derived from the journal, which existed as a work in conversation as early as 1966.

In the early 1970s Ian Burn, Michael Corris, Charles Harrison, Preston Heller, Graham Howard, Joseph Kosuth, Andrew Menard, Mel Ramsden, Terry Smith and from Coventry Philip Pilkington and David Rushton merged their work with Art & Language. Burn and Ramsden co-founded The Society for Theoretical Art and Analysis in New York in the late 1960s.

Throughout the 1970s, Art & Language dealt with questions surrounding art production, and attempted a shift from the conventional "non-Linguistic" forms of art like painting and sculpture to more theoretically based works. The group often took up argumentative positions against such prevailing views of critics like Clement Greenberg and Michael Fried.

By the end of the 1970s the group was essentially reduced to Baldwin, Harrison and Ramsden. The political analysis that developed within the group resulted in many members leaving to work in more activist political occupations. Ian Burn and Terry Smith returned to Australia where they joined forces with Ian Milliss, a conceptual artist who had begun working with trade unions in the early 1970s, to set up Union Media Services, a design studio specialising in social marketing and community and trade union based art initiatives. Karl Beveridge and Carol Condé who had been peripheral members in New York, returned to Canada where they also began to work with trade unions and community groups. Other UK members drifted off into a variety of creative, academic and sometimes "politicised" occupations.

The Art & Language group that exhibited in the international "Documenta" exhibitions of 1972 included Atkinson, Bainbridge, Baldwin, Hurrell, Pilkington and Rushton and the then America editor of Art-Language Joseph Kosuth. In 1986, the remnants of the group were nominated for the Turner Prize.

In 1999 Art and Language exhibited at PS1 MoMA, NY with a major installation entitled 'The Artist Out of Work'. This was a re-collection of their dialogical and other practices presented as a glut hang and was curated by Michael Corris and Neil Powell. This exhibition followed closely on from the revisionist:'Global Conceptualism:Points of Origin', at the Queens Museum of Art also in New York. The A+L show at PS1 offered an alternative account of the antecedents and legacy of 'classic' Conceptual Art and reinforced a transatlantic rather than nationalistic version of events 1968-72.

Past Members & Associates

* Terry Atkinson
* David Bainbridge
* Ian Burn
* Sarah Charlesworth
* Michael Corris
* Preston Heller
* Graham Howard
* Harold Hurrell
* Joseph Kosuth
* Christine Kozlov
* Harold Hurrell
* Andrew Menard
* Philip Pilkington
* Neil Powell
* David Rushton
* Terry Smith
* Mayo Thompson

External links

* [http://www.muliermuliergallery.com Works by Art & Language at the Mulier Mulier Gallery]
* [http://www.lissongallery.com/#/artists/art-and-language/ Works by Art & Language at the Lisson Gallery]
* [http://blurting-in.zkm.de Art & Language: Blurting in A & L online] Hypertext version of a complete print work of 1973 by American members of Art & Language, with articles and a discussion forum.
* [http://dreher.netzliteratur.net/3_Konzeptkunst_Titel.html Thomas Dreher: Intermedia Art: Konzeptuelle Kunst] with three German articles on Art & Language and a chronology with illustrated works.
* [http://www.artfacts.net/index.php/pageType/artistInfo/artist/5548 Artists group page in Artfacts.Net] with actual major exhibitions.


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