Joseph Kosuth was born on January 31, 1945 in Toledo, Ohio.
Joseph Kosuth is an American contemporary artist, one of the pioneers and a vivid representative of Conceptual art. He is known throughout the world for his installations; in particular, his composition “One and Three Chairs” has become a classic example of the style. As a 23-year-old student, he received a grant from the Cassandra Foundation with the “blessing” of master Marcel Duchamp to implement his innovative ideas.
The artist was the first to deeply explore the relations between ideas, images, and words used to describe them. He used words instead of visual images of any other kind, that is, he completely excluded objects in order to focus on the meaning conveyed exclusively by the language. The awards given to the artist most eloquently speak of the recognition of Joseph Kosuth’s unique talent. The main ones are the Brandeis and Frederic Weisman Prizes, the Menzione d’Onore at the Venice Biennale, the title of Cavalier from the French government, the highest award of the Republic of Austria for achievements in science and culture. Since 2014, the neon installation of Kosuth is a part of a permanent exhibition at the Paris Louvre.
Many of the installations of Kosuth included excerpts from literature and works on philosophy and psychology. The quotes are filled with an important universal meaning – this is how the artist makes his audience reflect on the problems of personal identity, poverty and racism, loneliness and the lessons of history. Avoiding any clear or too explicit comments of his own, Joseph Kosuth realizes himself both as a modern artist, philosopher and moralist.
– Joseph Kosuth believed that images and any other kinds of artistic mastery should be excluded from art. Only under such a condition can ideas be transmitted “purely”: as directly and immediately as possible. There should not be any obstacles to the expression of ideas; according to the innovator, any image is just an obstacle. This postulate became one of the main forces that made Conceptual art an independent movement in the late 1960s.
– The artist studied the relations between words, their meanings, and how they relate to objects and things that they describe. He was fascinated by the ideas of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein about language and fascinated by the relationship between visual and linguistic. His search for the relationship between literature and art took the form of installations, museum exhibitions, social events, performances and publications throughout Europe, America and Asia.
– In his fundamental essay “Art after philosophy” published in 1969, Kosuth argued, “Art is a continuation of philosophy.” The artist also became interested in the works of Z. Freud and created several works using his texts, as well as the works of Nietzsche, Claude Levy-Strauss and others.
– Joseph Kosuth’s appeal to art devoid of all morphological features is an intellectual provocation, as a result of which words replaced images and objects.
Joseph Kosuth was born on January 31, 1945 in Toledo, Ohio.
Visited the Design School of the Museum of Toledo – the city in which he was born. At the same time, he took fine art lessons from Belgian painter Lin Bloom Draper and was his student for seven years.
Entered the Cleveland Art Institute but spent the following year in Paris and traveled around Europe and North Africa.
Moved to New York and attended the School of Visual Arts until 1967. His famous concept installation “One and Three Chairs” was completed when he was a student. At the end of his studies, he taught at this school.
Founded the Museum of Normal Art in New York, in which the first exhibitions of the artist’s works were held. The following year, with the submission of Marcel Duchamp, he received a grant from the Cassandra Foundation for the implementation of his innovative ideas.
Organized his performance called Fifteen Locations, which took place simultaneously at 15 museums and galleries around the world. A year later, he participated in the exhibition of conceptual art at the New York Seth Siegelaub Gallery. Published his famous essay “Art after Philosophy”.
Held a personal exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery. He was invited to collaborate with the English magazine Art and Language as its American editor. Participated in exhibitions at the Kunsthalle (Bern), the Institute of Modern Art in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Studied anthropology and philosophy at the New York New School of Social Research. He participated in the Konzept-Kunst (Kunstmuseum, Basel) and for the first time in the Document (Kassel, Germany). A year later, the Kunstmuseum Luzern presented a traveling European retrospective exhibition of the works of the young artist.
Became co-editor of the short-lived Fox magazine; the following year, he prepared and held a large solo exhibition in Chicago.
Worked as an art editor at Marxist Perspectives; a retrospective exhibition of the artist took place at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. He began the Text / Context series – the artist posted phrases about art and language in their socio-cultural context on billboards.
Started to use the theories of Sigmund Freud – for example, in the Cathexis series he combined texts and photographs of paintings by old masters. Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Kunsthalle Bielefeld organized a great retrospective exhibition of the works of the artist; a year later, he again participated in the “Document” in the German city of Kassel.
He was awarded the Brandeis Prize, a year later – the Frederick Weisman Prize.
Was awarded by Menzione d’Onore at the Venice Biennale; became the Cavalier of France, for the third time took part in the forum of artists of the “Document”. A year later, in the Uyazdovsky castle (Warsaw, Poland), a joint exhibition of Joseph Kosuth and Ilya Kabakov “The corridor of two platitudes” took place. At the exhibition, long rows of tables were shown – tidy from the west and scruffy from the Russian side.
The French government issued a postage stamp of 3.00 francs in honor of his work in Fijac (the artist was awarded the title of Cavalier in 1993). The master’s exhibitions were held in Naples, Istanbul, Munich and Dublin.
Received the highest award for his merits from the Republic of Austria. The exhibition of his works took place in Boston. In subsequent years, he exhibited around the world – London, Paris, Munich, Eindhoven, Moscow, Turin, etc.
Significant work of the artist, “Language of equilibrium”, was presented at the Venice Biennale. This year and next, his exhibitions were organized at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Madrid, and a retrospective exhibition of his early works was held in New York.
He performed a public work for the new highway of the international airport in Taiwan, using phrases in ten languages, taken from Guo Songfen’s poetic story “Running Mother”. The following year, his work “ni apparence ni illusion” was included in a permanent exhibition on the walls of the 12th century at the Paris Louvre.
Nam June Pike