Thesis Title: Conceptual Art and Counterculture in 1960s America
My research aims to redefine the established terms of conceptual art, in order to take into account the artistic practices of the American West Coast. Frequently written from perspectives that are New York-centric in their approach, the dominant academic accounts of conceptualism have characterized this art form as introspective and fundamentally apolitical in nature. This view fails to acknowledge the overt links to the countercultural movements of the 1960s, which were particularly evident within this region. The focus of my thesis is, therefore, to provide a sustained analysis of the relationship between West Coast conceptualism and the era’s broader cultural climate of social activism. In doing this, my objective is to contribute research on a number of understudied artists, whilst simultaneously exploring the extent to which their engagement with wider, socio-political issues complicates our current understanding of this area of art history.