The exhibition presents the work of three American artists of different generations whose activities intersect in various ways with conceptual art practice. Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967) has had enormous influence on subsequent generations of artists. He is recognised as the first American to begin making truly abstract art, although he defined himself against his contemporaries, the abstract expressionists, largely by dissent. This dissent formed a broader activity than simply producing the famous black paintings; his activities as an art teacher, cartoonist and writer, were as important in terms of the significance of his art as the works themselves.
Joseph Kosuth (b. 1945) met Ad Reinhardt two years before Reinhardt’s death and the friendship which developed inspired in Kosuth a life-long regard for Reinhardt’s work and ideas. Kosuth is acknowledged as one of the first conceptual artists and is well-known for his installation works using language. He has also lectured and written extensively. His work is grounded in a quest to understand and reveal the “meaning-making process”. This new work, using recent installations at the Hungarian Pavilion in the 1993 Venice Biennale and his 1992 exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington.
Felix Gonzalez Torres (b. 1957) is known for his conceptually-based objects, photography and printed works and for his active involvement in political issues.
His work is concerned in part with "the intersection of private and public” and is often multiple and adaptable in character. The installations at Camden, including a monolithic stack of paper and a huge stack of sweets, from which the visitors are invited to help themselves, are in deliberate contrast to the traditional presentation of the artwork as an object of veneration.
The exhibition arose out of discussions with the artists and has been co-curated by Maureen Paley.