The sixties was a decade of adjustments in America, on many levels in society. Taking his cue from the problems posed by conceptual artwork, Davies argues that a unified definition of artwork can only be found if we consider art primarily in terms of the inventive process or sequence of actions leading to a fabric factor or different ‘focus of appreciation’.
What unites the conceptual artwork of this period is the absorption of the teachings learnt from different twentieth-century art actions resembling Dadaism, Surrealism, Suprematism, Abstract Expressionism and the Fluxus group, together with the ambition, as soon as and for all, to ‘free’ artwork of the Modernist paradigm.
Whereas conceptual art in its purest form would possibly arguably be restricted to works produced throughout these 5 – 6 years almost half a century in the past, it appears overly narrow – certainly from a philosophical perspective – to restrict our inquiry to works produced during that period alone.
Whether one comes out of that investigation embracing a broader – albeit perhaps vaguer – set of ideas and tools than one began off with, or whether or not one considers oneself pressured to abandon any hope of anything however very specific theories of art, artist, and artistic experience, conceptual art obliges us to think about the place we stand on these issues.
For although the work created during that time might typically be conceived as more straight anti-institution and anti-consumerist than later conceptual artwork, the spirit of early conceptual art appears to have carried on comparatively undiluted into the very late twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as witnessed by pieces equivalent to Tracey Emin’s Unmade Bed, Damian Hirst’s The Bodily Impossibility of Dying within the Mind of Somebody Residing, and Jake and Dinos Chapman’s Chapman Family Collection.