Art & Language

American, Australian and British artists

Art & Language (founded 1968) is a British conceptual art movement. Art & Language are noted for their pioneering contribution to conceptual art.

Scratched photograph of the cover of Art-Language, Vol.3 No.1, 1974.




  • ... the first Cubist painting might be said to have attempted to evince some outlines as to what visual art is, whilst, obviously, being held out as a work of visual art. But the difference here is one of what shall be called 'the form of the work'. Initially what conceptual art seems to be doing is questioning the condition that seems to rigidly govern the form of visual art -that visual art remains visual.
    • 'Introduction', in: Art & Language Press, Art-Language The Journal of conceptual Art, Vol.1 Nr.1, 1969, p.1.


  • The price of Conceptual Art's entry into the polite society during the 70s was surrender of its abrasiveness and anomalousness. By the middle of the decade much of what had been the Conceptual Art movement was transformed into a 'radically responsible' publicity through appropriation of the methods of semiology.
    • 'Art & Language: A commentary on the work of the second decade', in: Marian Goodman Gallery NY (ed), Art & Language The Paintings, 1987, p.23.
  • It was no doubt as much in a spirit of opportunism as of catholic solidarity that the first issue of Art-Language was given the subtitle 'The Journal of Conceptual Art'. Art & Language was never a broad church, but within the wider grouping which Conceptual Art suggested, the publication of Art-Language served to rally those unwilling to accept the traditional division of labour according to which 'artists' delegated responsibility for the meaning and interpretation of their work to 'critics'.
    • 'Art & Language: Some conditions and concerns of the first ten years', in: Marian Goodman Gallery NY (ed), Art & Language The Paintings, 1987, p.12.


  • To talk of a blank painting is not simply to conceive of an empty canvas. On the contrary, the typical blank painting is a canvas made blank through the application of paint ... It is not possible that this surface should exclude all possibility of figuration or association.
    • 'Reflections on the figure', in: Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume (ed), Art & Language, 1993, p.131.
  • The blank painting cannot be painted in good faith unless it presents itself as the only painting to be painted - unless blankness is the only significant property painting can be though to possess.
    • 'Reflections on the figure', in: Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume (ed), Art & Language, 1993, p.132.
  • The idea of an 'image' or 'icon' as a loaded cultural entity was almost never considered in the (fabulous) heyday of conceptual art.
    • 'Art & Language 9 fragments, 1997', in L'Officiel Art, éditions Jalou, Double Language, 2015-2016, p.132.
  • Those who seek moral or intellectual refuge in irony are liable to become ironical spectacle themselves. The potency of irony is that, once inaugurated, it is endless; once necessary, it is interminably so. The irony of irony-as-refuge is that it is a closure only for its victims. We proceed, therefore, ironically, in the principled understanding that there is no refuge in this, that our speech will shortly become its own next victim.
    • 'L'origine du Monde', in: Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume (ed), Art & Language La conférence du Jeu de Paume, 1996, p.54.

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