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Joseph
Kossuth
born in 1935
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Biography and information
 
Kossuth is a well-known contemporary American artist, essayist, publicist and journalist; one of the founders of conceptual art.

Kossuth did his famous work "One and Three Chairs" as a student. The work looks like a chair, a photograph of this chair and a copy of the dictionary entry "chair". The key to understanding the work is the fact that the photograph shows the exposed chair. Thus, the self-topicing work contains the context of its own presentation.

As conceived by the author, the chair and its photograph should change with each new exposure. Two elements remain unchanged: a copy of the dictionary entry "chair" and a diagram with instructions for setting up work. Both elements are part of the concept and are signed by the artist. This is a philosophical work, referring to Plato’s treatise "The State". This work explains what art should correspond to an ideal society — there must be strict censorship, and not all art can exist.

Kossuth founded the Museum of Normal Art in New York in 1967, where his first solo exhibition was held.

Since 1968, Kossuth was a member of the faculty of the School of Visual Arts. In 1969, the artist organized his exhibition under the name Fifteen Locations, which took place simultaneously in 15 museums and galleries around the world. He also participated in a concept art exhibition in January 1969 at the Seth Siegelaub Gallery, New York.

In 1969, Kossuth’s solo exhibition was held at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York. In the same year, he became the American editor of the journal Art and Language and participated in the exhibition When Attitude Becomes Form: Works-Concepts-Processes-Situations in Kunsthalle, Bern, and at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. It has been featured at most major exhibitions, which reflected a growing recognition of conceptual art, including Information at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1970 and Konzept-Kunst at the Kunstmuseum, Basel, in 1972.

In 1971−1972 he studied anthropology and philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York.

From 1970 to 1974, during a series of solo exhibitions, he created an environment in the form of a class, where participants were placed at desks with documents for reading, and texts or diagrams were placed on the walls. In 1973, the Kunstmuseum Luzern presented a retrospective of the artist who traveled throughout Europe.

Kossuth became co-editor of the short-lived Fox Magazine (1975−1976) and art editor of Marxist Perspectives in 1977−1978. In 1978, a retrospective of the artist took place at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

In a series of Text / Context (1978−1979), the artist placed proposals on art and language and their socio-cultural context on billboards. In 1981, he began using Sigmund Freud’s theories in series like Cathexis, which combined text and photographs from paintings by old masters. Also in 1981, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Kunsthalle Bielefeld organized a great retrospective of the artist. In his Zero and Not (1986), words were mechanically printed on paper and then partially taped.

In his famous 1969 essay, Art After Philosophy, Kossuth argued that the traditional artistic and historical discourse had come to an end. Instead, he proposed a radical study of the means by which art gains its cultural significance and its status as art. "Being an artist today," commented Kossuth, "means asking questions about the nature of art."

Kossuth used the language itself as a means. The result was conceptual art, devoid of all morphological features — intellectual provocation took the place of perception, words replaced images and objects. This transition is indicated in the First Investigations series (with the subtitle Art As Idea As Idea), which included vocabulary definitions of words such as "water", "meaning", "idea". Kossuth sought to show that art is not in the object itself, but in the idea or concept of work.



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    Joseph Kossuth. Leaning glass
    Joseph Kossuth. Four Colors Four Words
    Joseph Kossuth. O. & A. / FD (to IK and GF) No. 13
    Joseph Kossuth. Private Language I (PI) '[White]
    Joseph Kossuth. Mondrian's Work XII
    Joseph Kossuth. One and three chairs
    One and three chairs
    Joseph Kossuth
    1965-1965,
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