Sentences On Art
1. Mystics are rationalists rather than conceptual artists. They leap to
logic that conclusions cannot reach.
2. Repeat judgements rationalize judgements.
3. Irrational judgements arrive at repetition.
4. Logically irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely.
5. If the artist changes his piece midway through the execution of his mind
he compromises the result and repeats the past results.
6. The artists ego is secondary to the process he initiates from the idea of
7. When words such as painting and sculpture are used, they connote a whole
tradition and imply a consequent acceptance of this tradition, thus placing
limitations on the artist who would be reluctant to make art that goes
beyond the artist.
8. The concept and the idea are different. The former implies a component
while the latter is the general direction. Ideas are a concept.
9. Ideas can be works of art; they are in a chain of development that may
eventually find some form. All ideas need not be made physical.
10. One usually understands the art of the present by applying the
convention of the past, thus misunderstanding the art of the present and the
11. Beautiful ideas cannot be rescued by banal execution.
12. It is very, very easy to bungle a good idea.
----- Original Message -----
From: "t.whid" <firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2003 9:02 PM
Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: I promise...
> On Monday, July 14, 2003, at 08:08 PM, Mark River wrote:
> > http://tinjail.com/promise.html
> i think 15, 16, 18 and 32 are very relevant.
> Sentences on Conceptual Art
> by Sol Lewitt
> 1. Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap
> to conclusions that logic cannot reach.
> 2. Rational judgements repeat rational judgements.
> 3. Irrational judgements lead to new experience.
> 4. Formal art is essentially rational.
> 5. Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically.
> 6. If the artist changes his mind midway through the execution of the
> piece he compromises the result and repeats past results.
> 7. The artist's will is secondary to the process he initiates from idea
> to completion. His wilfulness may only be ego.
> 8. When words such as painting and sculpture are used, they connote a
> whole tradition and imply a consequent acceptance of this tradition,
> thus placing limitations on the artist who would be reluctant to make
> art that goes beyond the limitations.
> 9. The concept and idea are different. The former implies a general
> direction while the latter is the component. Ideas implement the
> 10. Ideas can be works of art; they are in a chain of development that
> may eventually find some form. All ideas need not be made physical.
> 11. Ideas do not necessarily proceed in logical order. They may set one
> off in unexpected directions, but an idea must necessarily be completed
> in the mind before the next one is formed.
> 12. For each work of art that becomes physical there are many
> variations that do not.
> 13. A work of art may be understood as a conductor from the artist's
> mind to the viewer's. But it may never reach the viewer, or it may
> never leave the artist's mind.
> 14. The words of one artist to another may induce an idea chain, if
> they share the same concept.
> 15. Since no form is intrinsically superior to another, the artist may
> use any form, from an expression of words (written or spoken) to
> physical reality, equally.
> 16. If words are used, and they proceed from ideas about art, then they
> are art and not literature; numbers are not mathematics.
> 17. All ideas are art if they are concerned with art and fall within
> the conventions of art.
> 18. One usually understands the art of the past by applying the
> convention of the present, thus misunderstanding the art of the past.
> 19. The conventions of art are altered by works of art.
> 20. Successful art changes our understanding of the conventions by
> altering our perceptions.
> 21. Perception of ideas leads to new ideas.
> 22. The artist cannot imagine his art, and cannot perceive it until it
> is complete.
> 23. The artist may misperceive (understand it differently from the
> artist) a work of art but still be set off in his own chain of thought
> by that misconstrual.
> 24. Perception is subjective.
> 25. The artist may not necessarily understand his own art. His
> perception is neither better nor worse than that of others.
> 26. An artist may perceive the art of others better than his own.
> 27. The concept of a work of art may involve the matter of the piece or
> the process in which it is made.
> 28. Once the idea of the piece is established in the artist's mind and
> the final form is decided, the process is carried out blindly. There
> are many side effects that the artist cannot imagine. These may be used
> as ideas for new works.
> 29. The process is mechanical and should not be tampered with. It
> should run its course.
> 30. There are many elements involved in a work of art. The most
> important are the most obvious.
> 31. If an artist uses the same form in a group of works, and changes
> the material, one would assume the artist's concept involved the
> 32. Banal ideas cannot be rescued by beautiful execution.
> 33. It is difficult to bungle a good idea.
> 34. When an artist learns his craft too well he makes slick art.
> 35. These sentences comment on art, but are not art.
> First published in 0-9 (New York), 1969, and Art-Language (England),
> May 1969
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