Conceptual Art in Britain: Room 3

From 1969 several exhibitions in London and abroad presented conceptual art to wider public view. When Attitudes Become Form at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1969 or Seven Exhibitions at the Tate Gallery in 1972, for example, generated an institutional acceptance and confirmation for conceptual art. It was presented in such exhibitions in different contexts to encompass both an analytical or theoretical conceptual art largely based in language and philosophy, and one that was more inclusive and suggested an expansion of definitions of sculpture.

This inclusive view of conceptual art underlines how it was understood as a set of strategies for formulating new approaches to art. One such approach was the increasing use of photography – first as a means of documentation and then recast and conceived as the work itself. Photography also provided a way for sculpture to free itself from objects and re-engage with reality. However, by the mid-1970s some artists were questioning not just the nature of art, but were using conceptual strategies to address what art’s function might be in terms of a social or political purpose.