What is a Chair?


“The ‘value’ of particular artists after Duchamp can be weighed according to how much they questioned the nature of art.” This is a quote given by artist Joseph Kosuth, a American conceptual artist born in 1945. In his work Kosuth tries to bind the the concept and nature of his work with the nature of art itself. His most famous work, titled One and Three Chairs, 1965 consists of three elements including a chair, a life size picture of the same chair and a large copy of the dictionary definition of the word chair. The piece is unique because when sent to different places for exhibitions, each time it changes. Each time the galleries are instructed to choice a chair and place it up against a wall. Take a picture of the chair and blow it up to life size. Therefore every time his work is shown, the chair changes while the idea remains the same. The title that Kosuth chose for the piece is interesting because it makes the viewers questions, what is real, what is a chair, what makes a chair real. One and Three Chairs, although the picture the object and the definition are all of ‘chair’ they are still three separate things. Which one is ‘chair’. Is the definition of a chair more real then the object of the chair itself, what would a chair be without a definition to describe it. The chair in the photo is still a chair, so is it any less real than the actual chair itself? These are the questions when looking at his work you are forced to ask yourself. His work his conceptual because the idea behind the work that we look at is where the art really is.


~ by klineb582 on Thursday, April 3, 2008.

3 Responses to “What is a Chair?”

  1. That’s really interesting. It makes you think about something that no one normally questions. It’s something that you never really think about and no one has the answer to. It’s one of those questions that has no right or wrong answer but just makes you think. It’s really cool that they made an art piece that could make you think so much about something as simple as a chair.

  2. That’s really cool. I think that this is true art. A chair is such a simple thing, but all of a sudden people step back, take a second look, and really think about what a chair is. This is art at it’s best.

  3. I find it interesting that the piece changes from location to location, cementing the fact that conceptual art is not about the actual appearance of a piece, but the thought behind it.

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