Conceptualism or Conceptual art began to shift the focus from the actual creative process of creating the work, to the actual idea and concept. With conceptual art all the planning is done before the execution begins, the process seems to become more machine like. Conceptual art did not make a huge emergence until the 1960's but there are a few artists who began to implement these conceptual art ideas in their works as early as 1917, such as Marcel Duchamp who capture a solitaire urinal and titled it Fountain. Conceptual art most often refers to nontraditional art forms, such as those not pertaining to sculptures or paintings. Some of the most notable artists of the conceptual art movement include Yves Klein, Joseph Kossuth, Douglas Huebler and Lawrence Weiner.
Conceptual art is what brought about the idea of installations. Most of the conceptual art ideas were easily able to be reproduced or constructed if the directions were followed. Conceptual art began to question the role of the artists and what it is that they were expected to create. Creating a clear definition for conceptual art lead to a number of challenging discussions. It was often unclear what the actual concept referred to and where the line would be drawn when it came to the artist’s intention for a piece of art.
Conceptual arts were often looked at as a reaction to formalism in the 1960's. Where formalism focused on being able to define the formal nature of each medium, conceptual art took this idea even further. It completely dematerialized art and could remove the need for objects in the work altogether. Artworks no longer were being confined to their medium and often time external subject matter could be incorporated.
Language and linguistics also played a major part in the conceptual art movement. Many conceptual artists begin utilizing languages and words to take the place of the traditional brush and canvas. Conceptual art made a distinguishable shift from the traditional art forms of art and was often criticized because of the lack of skill needed to claim oneself as a conceptual artist. But, while the traditional art forms were not typically utilized there was a great deal of skill each conceptual artist needed to possess. Those who were strong supporters of contemporary art greatly opposed the notions of conceptual art. Conceptual art was often described as pretentious and craft less but a number of conceptual artist in the late 1900's began to push the envelope on what is classified as art.
Many artists posed question for the audiences to consider. Is something a piece of art because of the action that was done to create it or because those actions were done by a famous artist? The conceptual movement really paved the way for defining what is art? And how much of this art was actual a creative expression of the artist or just an over indulgence of the artist thoughts?
Artists listed are closely associated with Conceptualism although several of these artists are also associated with other art movements.