A ROSE HAS NO TEETH: CONCEPTUAL ART AND ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY
INSTRUCTOR: NAT HANSEN (HANSENN@UCHICAGO.EDU) A distinctive preoccupation of conceptual art between roughly 1966 and 1972 was with what is known as analytic philosophy, which is concerned with relations between linguistic meaning, logic, and reality. For example, Bruce Nauman took a striking phrase from Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, “A rose has no teeth”, cast the phrase in lead, and exhibited it nailed to a tree in a garden. Wittgenstein offers the phrase as an example of a true statement (even “obviously true!”, Part II, xi), but the meaning of which is not clear. Nauman’s work is not an isolated phenomenon: Joseph Kosuth, drawing arguments expounded in A.J. Ayer’s Language, Truth and Logic, argued that art, like logic, has no content, and produced photostats of dictionary entries of philosophically significant words, like “universal” and “meaning”. And the British collective Art & Language argued, in the quasi-academic format of their journal Art-Language that “the making of art and the making of a certain kind of art theory are often the same procedure”. What is the significance of Nauman’s appropriation of Wittgenstein’s “obviously true” sentence, Kosuth’s argument that art, like logic, is tautologous, and Art & Language’s content that art and “a certain kind of” theory are identical? In this class, we will consider the relation between conceptual art and philosophy by viewing the work of conceptual artists (including Nauman, Kosuth, Art & Language, Paolini, Arnatt, and LeWitt) alongside the philosophical texts that were incorporated into their art, including works by Ludwig Wittgenstein, A.J. Ayer, J.L. Austin, G.E. Moore, and Bertrand Russell. We will assess the possibility of a purely conceptual, non-sensuous form of art, and evaluate the historical and critical significance of conceptual art produced during the period of 1966-1972. And we will investigate whether art can serve as a medium for philosophical reflection. The class is composed of six case studies of works of conceptual art that interact with, illuminate, or are illuminated by, works of analytic philosophy. We will view those works, talk about the context of their production, read texts produced by the artists, and carefully analyze the works of philosophy they make use of. Our aim will be to achieve a comprehensive understanding of those works and their philosophical context. Assignments will include short analytic essays responding to works of philosophy and critical responses to the art works we view in class. We will also visit Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art as a class to view works by Baldessari, Kosuth, Lewitt and Nauman in their permanent collection. As a final assignment, students will either produce a longer essay on the interaction of analytic philosophy and conceptual art, or they can choose to produce a work of conceptual art on their own, and write an account of how it constitutes a significant engagement with the philosophical texts we discuss in class.
Blackwell A. Times New Roman. Papers turned in late will lose one mark (e. Philosophy and Conceptual Art. Penguin J. as well as any other aspects of the readings that you find interesting. Copies should be delivered to Nat Hansen's in electronic format (MS Word. You should complete all the readings and come to class prepared to discuss them.TEXTS: Ludwig Wittgenstein.
This is a discussion-based class. Baskerville. Garamond. Small groups of students (3-5 students) will work together each week to produce written responses to the reading questions.
. These responses will be made available on Chalk before class to facilitate discussion.L. You will write two short class papers and complete a final assignment. Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology. Ayer. MIT Goldie and Schellekens. etc.to B+) for each day they are received after the deadline.) with 1 inch margins. Oxford Alberro and Stimson. from A.J. Philosophical Investigations. You should think about the questions and be prepared to talk about them. Your final grade will be determined as follows: In-class participation and writing assignments: 25% Course papers: 75% First paper: 3 pages worth 15% of course grade Second paper: 3 pages worth 25% Final assignment (paper or art work): 35% If you have any questions or concerns please speak to me as soon as they arise. Oxford + electronic reserves
COURSE REQUIREMENTS Prior knowledge of neither conceptual art or analytic philosophy is required or expected for this class.g. Papers must be typed. Language. Austin. Study questions for the readings will be available before class. which will consist either in a longer (10 page) essay or on an original work of conceptual art responding to the texts we discussed in class. Truth and Logic. or pdf) by 4:00 on the date due. double spaced in a twelve point serif typeface (Times. Sense and Sensibilia.
The Context. The Dematerialization of the Art Object. “The Availability of Wittgenstein’s Later Philosophy” [Chalk] CASE STUDY #4: KEITH ARNATT. Truth and Logic [excerpts] -Ludwig Wittgenstein. Sense and Sensibilia [excerpts]
. “The Puzzle of a representation? Representation”. A ROSE HAS NO TEETH First papers due Truth.J. Ch. Meaning.1 of Origins of Analytic Philosophy [Chalk]
In-class writing assignment on concepts and art
CASE STUDY #1: JOSEPH KOSUTH. in The Mechanical Mind [Chalk] -Nelson Goodman. Chs. “Art after First paper topics Philosophy” [Chalk] distributed -A. introduction to analytic philosophy
--Lucy Lippard.L. introduction to the idea of conceptual art. TITLED (ART AS IDEA AS IDEA) Art and Emptiness -Joseph Kosuth. xi -Stanley Cavell. ONE AND THREE CHAIRS What makes something -Tim Crane. 1966-1972. distributed Nonsense Philosophical Investigations. Skepticism Problems of Philosophy [excerpt] [Chalk] -G. Languages of Art [excerpt] [Chalk] CASE STUDY #3: BRUCE NAUMAN. “The Linguistic Turn”. Language.1-2 [Chalk] Second paper topics Skepticism and --Ludwig Wittgenstein.E. -Bertrand Russell.SCHEDULE OF TOPICS PART I: INTRODUCTION TO CONCEPTUAL ART
Meeting 1st Week
Historical overview. Moore. 1966-1972 [excerpt] [Chalk] --Michael Dummett. Austin. The Significance of Philosophical Skepticism. Ayer. TROUSER WORD PIECE The meaning of “real” -J. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus [excerpt] [Chalk] CASE STUDY #2: JOSEPH KOSUTH. Part II. “A Defense of Common Sense” [Chalk] -Barry Stroud.
“Visual Conceptual Art”. “Science and Linguistics” [Chalk] CASE STUDY #6: SOL LEWITT. “Paragraphs on papers or projects action Conceptual Art” [Chalk] due -Gregory Currie. “The Role of Language” [Chalk] --Sapir. 1 Second papers due Can theory be art? -Art & Language. 1. “Analytic of the Beautiful”. VOL. NO. in Philosophy and Conceptual Art Language and seeing --Ian Burn and Mel Ramsden. “The Aesthetic Value of Ideas”. FOUR COLOR DRAWING Proposals for final Idea. “Emergency Conditionals”. -Sol LeWitt.1. 1 [Chalk] --Immanuel Kant. “Introduction”. “The Status of Linguistics as Science” [Chalk] --Whorf. Vol. in Philosophy and Conceptual Art
CASE STUDY #5: ART-LANGUAGE. responsibility. Art-Language. §§1-8 [Chalk] --Elisabeth Schellenkens. No. Critique of Judgment. in Philosophy and Conceptual Art
CONCLUSION: THE LEGACY OF CONCEPTUAL ART AND ART’S RELATION TO PHILOSOPHY 10th Week Theory and Practice -Art & Language.