‘Titled (Art as Idea as Idea),’, 1968

Basel 2016
Sean Kelly, Sprüth Magers
121.9 x 121.9 (cm)
48.0 x 48.0 (inch)
‘Titled (Art as Idea as Idea)’ was Joseph Kosuth’s first solo gallery installation at Gallery 669 in Los Angeles in 1968. This first installation of what has become Kosuth’s seminal dictionary definition works included 10 mounted photographs each 48 × 48 inches, of 10 dictionary definitions of the word ‘nothing.’ Kosuth approaches meaning as something undeniably present and poses questions concerning how meaning is produced by artist and viewer alike. In his selected writings, Art After Philosophy and After: 1966–1990, Kosuth stated in a text from 1969, ‘I have subtitled all of my work beginning with the first “water” definition “Art as Idea as Idea.” I always considered the photograph only the form of presentation. The dictionary works went from abstractions of particulars (like Water) to abstractions of abstractions (like Meaning). I stopped the dictionary series in 1968. In the beginning the unsigned photographs were obviously photographs, but as time went on they became confused for paintings, so the “endless series” stopped. The idea was that they could be re-made – if need be – as part of an irrelevant procedure connected with the form of presentation but not with the “art.”’