You’ll be hearing about this topic for the next week or so…

Conceptual Art, to be specific.

After attending the opening night for the Spread exhibition, which is currently showing at the SOMArts Cultural Center (San Francisco, CA), I’ve been thinking quite a bit about conceptual art. I’ve been asking myself why I enjoy it so much.

Conceptual work makes sense of the world. With all its antics, it’s a movement that evolves, grows rapidly, and is reflective of the times.

Some may see conceptual art as rebellion and departure from tradition, which, for some, ceases to be art. With its lack of representational images functioning as the device from which to begin understanding, conceptual work is an extrapolation on complex ideas and in many cases, the viewer is required to participate in some aspect of the work. There’s a particular type of engagement that gives conceptual art its pulse. From our perception of sound to notions of politics and society to the human condition, conceptual art has something for everyone. Yes, I’m serious. It really does.

Over the next few days (maybe week, it really depends), I will be taking a look at the Spread show much more closely and spending a bit more time fleshing out the relationships between the artists and the works and how the vanguard artists are viewing their legacy in a new generation of conceptual artists.

More to follow…


Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina-American writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She serves as one of the editors-in-chief for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and SF MOMA's Open Space. She has lectured at the De Young museum, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). She is currently a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow researching the concept of citizenship. She also serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism and board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center.

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