Top 25 Conceptual art artists who changed its history

The 1960s and 1970s saw the emergence of conceptual art, which is distinguished by a concentration on ideas and concepts rather than conventional aesthetic factors. The aesthetic was a protest against the then-dominant formalist method of art, which prioritised the visual aspects of the piece.

Conceptual artists aimed to produce works that were more concerned with the concepts behind them than with the final product.  They frequently expressed their beliefs through language, performance, and other unconventional means.

Sol LeWitt, Joseph Kosuth, and Yoko Ono are a few of the most well-known practitioners of conceptual art.  These artists aimed to produce works that questioned conventional notions of what art could be and were interested in examining the relationship between language and art.

1. Marcel Duchamp

Conceptual art artists

Born: 28 July 1887, Blainville-Crevon, France

Died: 2 October 1968, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Periods: Dada, Surrealism, Modern art, Cubism, Conceptual art, Section d’Or

Partner: Maria Martins

  • Henri-Robert Marc Duchamp was a French artist, sculptor, writer, and chess player.
  • Duchamp is often praised, as are Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.
  • Duchamp is a major influence on twentieth-century and 20th-century art and was a pivotal figure in the evolution of conceptual art.
  • In the midst that World War I, he had dismissed the work of many of his peers.
  • He received his academic drawing instruction from a teacher who tried unsuccessfully to “protect” his students from Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and other avant-garde influences.


2. Joseph Kosuth

Conceptual art artists

Born: 9 September 1928, Hartford, Connecticut, United States

Died: 8 April 2007, New York, New York, United States

Structures: Cappella delle Brunate

Children: Eva LeWitt, Sofia LeWitt

Parents: Sophie LeWitt, Abraham LeWitt

Spouse: Carol Androccio (m. 1982–2007)

  • Joseph Kosuth is an American conceptual artist who has a home in New York and London.
  • The birthplace of Kosuth is Toledo, Ohio. Kosuth was born to an American mother and a Hungarian father.
  • The following year, he stayed in Paris and traveled across Europe as well as North Africa.
  • He relocated to New York in 1965 and was a student at the School of Visual Arts there until the year 1967.
  • In 1963, Kosuth enrolled in the Cleveland Institute of Art. Cleveland Institute of Art based on an award.


3. Sol LeWitt

Conceptual art artists

  • Sol LeWitt was an American artist who was associated with a variety of movements, such as minimalism and conceptual art.
  • The artist has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museums around the world since the year 1965.
  • His mother taught him workshops in art at Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. Wadsworth The Atheneum, in Hartford.
  • LeWitt relocated from New York City in 1953 and established his studio on the Lower East Side.
  • He was in 1955 when he worked as a graphic designer at the office of the architect I.M. Pei for one year.


4. Yoko Ono

Conceptual art artists

Born: 18 February 1933 (age 89 years), Tokyo, Japan

Spouse: John Lennon (m. 1969–1980), MORE

Albums: Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, Season of Glass, MORE

Children: Sean Lennon, Kyoko Chan Cox

  • Yoko Ono is a Japanese multimedia musician, artist, singer and peace advocate.
  • Ono was born in Tokyo and then moved to New York City in 1953 with her family.
  • She was involved in New York City’s downtown art scene in the early 1960s.
  • The couple took their honeymoon as a platform for demonstrations to protest Vietnam. Vietnam War.
  • Ono started a career in pop music in 1969, joining his band, the Plastic Ono Band with Lennon, and releasing several avant-garde music albums throughout the 1970s.


5. Joseph Beuys

Conceptual art artists

Born: 12 May 1921, Krefeld, Germany

Died: 23 January 1986, Düsseldorf, Germany

Organization founded: Free International University

Influenced: Nam June Paik, Andy Goldsworthy, Bill Viola

  • Joseph Beuys was a German artist, educator, performer, teacher, and art theorist. His work explored ideas of sociology, humanism, and the anthroposophical view.
  • He was the creator of a controversial art movement called Fluxus as well as a pivotal player in the formation of Happenings.
  • Beuys is famous for the “extended definition of art” that focuses on how the notions of social sculpture can transform the world of politics and society.
  • Joseph Beuys was born in Krefeld, Germany, on 12 May 1921.
  • In 1936 Beuys joined The Hitler Youth.


6. Piero Manzoni

Conceptual art artists

Born: 13 July 1933, Soncino, Italy

Died: 6 February 1963, Milan, Italy

Known for: Artist

  • Piero Manzoni was an Italian artist who is famous for his ironic take on an art that is avant-garde.
  • Manzoni is best known for his work in a series that challenges the meaning of an art object. They directly anticipate Conceptual Art.
  • It is regarded as a critique of consumption and mass production, which was altering Italian society.
  • Manzoni was diagnosed with myocardial infarction while working in his home studio located in Milan on the 6th of February 1963.
  • Manzoni was born in Soncino in the province of Cremona.


7. Chris Burden

Conceptual art artists

Born: 11 April 1946, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Died: 10 May 2015, Topanga, California, United States

Parents: Rhoda Burden, Robert Burden

Spouse: Barbara Burden (m. 1967–1976), Nancy Rubins (m. ?–2015)

Education: Pomona College; University of California, Irvine

  • Christopher Lee Burden was an American artist who worked in sculpture, performance, and installation art.
  • An artist of many talents, Burden created many well-known works of art, public art and sculptures prior to his demise in 2015.
  • The burden was born in Boston in 1946. She was the daughter of Robert Burden, an engineer and Rhoda Burden Biologist.
  • At 12 years old, Burden had an emergency surgery that was performed without anesthesia on his left foot following his foot was badly injured during a motor-scooter accident on Elba.
  • He completed his B.A. in physics, visual arts as well as architecture during his time at Pomona College from 1965-1969.


8. John Baldessari

Conceptual art artists

Born: 17 June 1931, National City, California, United States

Died: 2 January 2020, Venice, Los Angeles, California, United States

Children: Annamarie Baldessari, Tony Baldessari

Parents: Antonio Baldessari, Hedvig Jensen

Siblings: Betty Sokol

  • John Baldessari was an American conceptual artist who was famous for his work that incorporated photos he took from the internet and other images he adapted.
  • A painter at first, Baldessari was able to integrate text and photographs into his paintings around the mid-1960s.
  • In 1970, he started working in film, printmaking video, installation photography, and sculpture.
  • His work was influential to Cindy Sherman, David Salle, Annette Lemieux, and Barbara Kruger, among others.

Baldessari was born in National City, California.


9. Cildo Meireles

Conceptual art artists

Born: 9 February 1948 (age 74 years), Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Awards: Prince Claus Award, 1999

  • Cildo Meireles is a Brazilian conceptual artist as well as an installation artist and sculptor.
  • He is renowned for his artwork, that often shows strong opposition to brutality in Brazil.
  • Meireles was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1948. At an early age, Meireles showed a keen desire to draw and make spatial connections.
  • He was particularly interested in the ways this topic is being investigated in animated films.
  • In an interview with Nuria Enguitain a recent interview, Meireles told of a time in his life when Meireles was “seven or eight” and living in the countryside, which was a major influence on him.


10. Yves Klein

Conceptual art artists

Born: 28 April 1928, Nice, France

Died: 6 June 1962, Paris, France

Children: Yves Amu Klein

Parents: Fred Klein, Marie Raymond

Spouse: Rotraut Klein-Moquay (m. 1962–1962)

  • Yves Klein was a French artist who was a key artist of post-war European art.
  • Klein was the first to pioneer the creation of performance art. He is regarded as an inspiration for and an early proponent of minimalist art and pop art.
  • Klein began his life in Nice in the department of Alpes-Maritimes in France.
  • Parents Fred Klein and Marie Raymond were both artists.
  • He was the father of a popular figurative painter, and his mother was interested in abstract expressionism.


11. Marina Abramović

Conceptual art artists

Born: 30 November 1946 (age 75 years), Belgrade, Serbia

Movies: Marina Abramovic The Artist Is Present, MORE

Spouse: Paolo Canevari (m. 2005–2009), Neša Paripović (m. 1971–1976)

Parents: Danica Abramović, Vojo Abramović

  • Marina Abramovic is a Serbian performance and conceptual artist.
  • Her work focuses on body and female art, endurance art, and the connection between performer and spectator.
  • She pioneered a brand new concept of identity, bringing in the involvement of viewers.
  • An interview with her revealed that Abramovic said that her parents were “Red bourgeoisie.
  • In an interview that was published on the internet in 1998, Abramovic stated that her “mother had total military-style control of my brother and me.


12. On Kawara

Conceptual art artists

Born: 24 December 1932, Kariya, Aichi, Japan

Died: 10 July 2014, New York, New York, United States

Known for: Visual art, conceptual art

  • Kawara is a Japanese concept artist from Japan who resided in New York City in 1965.
  • He participated in numerous exhibitions in both group and solo forms, including his participation in the Venice Biennale in 1976.
  • Kawara was born in Kariya, Japan, on December 24, 1932.
  • After having graduated from Kariya High School in 1951, Kawara moved to Tokyo.
  • Kawara was part of a worldwide group of Conceptual artists who began to develop in the mid-1960s.


13. Lawrence Weiner

Conceptual art artists

Born: 10 February 1942, Manhattan, New York, United States

Died: 2 December 2021, Manhattan, New York, United States

Spouse: Alice Weiner

  • Lawrence Weiner was an American conceptual artist from the United States.
  • He was among the most important actors in the creation of conceptual art in the 1960s.
  • His work was often in the form of typographic text, a type called word art.
  • His parents ran a candy shop.
  • After studying philosophy and literature at Hunter College for less than one year, he traveled across North America before returning to New York.


14. Gerhard Richter

Conceptual art artists

Born: 9 February 1932 (age 90 years), Dresden, Germany

Children: Betty Richter, Ella Maria Richter

Parents: Ernst Alfred Schönfelder, Hildegard Schönfelder

Spouse: Sabine Moritz-Richter (m. 1995), Isa Genzken (m. 1982–1993)

Education: Dresden Art Academy, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf

  • Gerhard Richter is an artist from German visual artist from Germany.
  • Richter has created abstract and photosynthetic paintings and photographs and glass works.
  • He is widely considered one of the top contemporary German artists, and many of his paintings have set records at auction.
  • Richter was born in Hospital Dresden-Neustadt in Dresden.
  • After struggling to hold education in the current National Socialist education system.


15. Daniel Buren

Conceptual art artists

Born: 25 March 1938 (age 84 years), Boulogne-Billancourt, France

Awards: Praemium Imperiale, Golden Lion Award

Known for: Sculpture, Installation

Movement: Abstract minimalism

Notable work: Les Deux Plateaux

  • Daniel Buren is a French abstract artist, artist, and sculptor.
  • He has created several world-famous installations, including “Les Deux Plateaux”(1985).
  • He is among the most popular and well-known artists in the world.
  • His main concern includes his concern with the “scene of production” as means of displaying art and highlighting its facture.
  • The artist began to paint in the mid-1960s.


16. Jenny Holzer

Conceptual art artists

Born: 29 July 1950 (age 72 years), Gallipolis, Ohio, United States

Education: University of Chicago; Ohio University (BFA); Rhode Island School of Design (MFA)

Movies: About Jenny Holzer

  • Jenny Holzer is an American Neo-conceptual artist located in Hoosick, New York.
  • Holzer is part of the feminist group of an artist generation that began to emerge in the 1980s.
  • She relocated to Manhattan in 1976. She enrolled in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study program and began her first research in the field of language.
  • She was also a regular member of the group called the artist Colab.
  • Holzer is part of the feminist side of an artist generation that emerged around 1980.


17. Dan Graham

Conceptual art artists

Born: 31 March 1942, Urbana, Illinois, United States

Died: 19 February 2022, New York, New York, United States

Awards: Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation Award, Skowhegan Medal for Mixed Media, French Vermeil Medal

Movement: Minimalism, Conceptual art

  • Daniel Graham was an American visual writer, artist, and curator.
  • His first magazine-based art was predated by himself. However, it is often paired with conceptual art.
  • He was a resident and worker in New York City.
  • Dan Graham was born in Urbana, Illinois, the father of a chemical engineer and an educator psychologist.
  • The company was in operation until the year 1965 when he began developing his own concepts.


18. Marcel Broodthaers

Conceptual art artists

Born: 28 January 1924, Brussels, Belgium

Died: 28 January 1976, Cologne, Germany

Artworks: White Cabinet and White Table, Paintings, MORE

Movies: La pluie, Une seconde d´eternité

Children: Sylvie Van Hiel

Partner: Maria Gilissen

  • Marcel Broodthaers was a Belgian poet, filmmaker, writer, and visual artist.
  • From 1943 to 1951, He was a member of the Communist party.
  • Broodthaers was born in Brussels, Belgium, where he was associated with the Groupe Surrealiste-revolutionnaire from 1945.
  • Broodthaers later focused on collections of found objects and collages, usually containing writings.
  • Between 1968 and 1975, Broodthaers created large-scale environmental works that challenged the concept of the Museum.


19. Hans Haacke

Conceptual art artists

Born: 12 August 1936 (age 86 years), Cologne, Germany

  • Hans Haacke is an artist born in Germany. He lives and is based in New York City.
  • Haacke is a native of Cologne, Germany.
  • He was a pupil under Stanley William Hayter, a popular and well-known English printmaker from England.
  • Haacke’s fascination with real-time systems led him to his critique of political and social systems.
  • Haacke has been open throughout his career, attempting to clarify the connection between business and museums as well as their respective methods.


20. Ilya Kabakov

Conceptual art artists

Born: 30 September 1933 (age 88 years), Dnipro, Ukraine

Education: Maskvos valstybinis akademinis Surikovo dailės institutas

Spouse: Emilia Kabakov (m. 1992)

Parents: Bertha Solodukhina, Joseph Kabakov

  • Ilya Kabakov is a conceptual Russian-American artist.
  • In recent times the artist has made installations that invoke the aesthetics that was the Soviet Union.
  • Ilya Kabakov Iosifovich was born on September 30, 1933.
  • Kabakov as an illustrator of books and his official artist had the ability to create “private” artwork in his official studio.


21. Félix González-Torres

Conceptual art artists

Born: 26 November 1957, Guáimaro, Cuba

Died: 9 January 1996, Miami, Florida, United States

Cause of death: HIV/AIDS

school: Minimalism

  • Felix Gonzalez Torres was born in Cuba. He was an American artist.
  • In 1987 the artist was a member of Group Material, a New York-based group of an artist whose purpose was to collaborate in accordance with the values of cultural activism as well as community education.
  • He relocated from New York City in 1979 after receiving a study grant to investigate photography.
  • In 1987, he received the title of Master of Fine Arts from the International Center of Photography and New York University.


22. Michael Craig-Martin

Conceptual art artists

Born: 28 August 1941 (age 81 years), Dublin, Ireland

Period: Conceptual art

Children: Jessica Craig-Martin

Education: Yale University

Known for: Painting; drawing; conceptual artist

Notable work: An Oak Tree

  • Michael Craig Martin is an Irish contemporary artist, painter, and conceptualist.
  • Michael Craig Martin was born in Dublin and spent most of his early years living in Washington, D.C.
  • He became interested in art because of an ordained priest who was also an artist and was greatly impressed by an exhibit at the Phillips Collection of works created by Mark Rothko.
  • From 1973onwards, Craig-Martin taught in the college of Goldsmiths College.


23. Mel Bochner

Conceptual art artists

Born: 1940 (age 82 years), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Education: School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University

Known for: Conceptual art, Installation art

  • Mel Bochner is an American conceptual artist from the United States.
  • Bochner was born in Pittsburgh in the year 1940.
  • He relocated from New York in 1964 and was an employee of The Jewish Museum.
  • He was invited by the famous art critic Dore Ashton to instruct art historians in the School of Visual Arts in New York.
  • In 2004, the work of Bochner was featured in The Whitney Biennial and was part of Open Systems.


24. Wolf Vostell

Conceptual art artists

Born: 14 October 1932, Leverkusen, Germany

Died: 3 April 1998, Berlin, Germany

Children: Rafael Vostell, David Vostell

Known for: Painting Sculpture Installation art Video art Dé-collage

  • Wolf Vostell was a German artist and sculptor.
  • Wolf Vostell was born in Leverkusen, Germany.
  • The year was 1953 when he started his training program as a lithographer. The following year, he trained in the Academy of Applied Art in Wuppertal.
  • His first event, The Theater is in the Street, was held in Paris in 1958. It featured auto parts and a TV.
  • Vostell is the pioneer artist who was the first to incorporate TV sets into a piece of art.


25. Adrian Piper

Conceptual art artists

Born: 20 September 1948 (age 73 years), New
York, New York, United States

Education: Harvard University (1981), MORE

Parents: Olive Xavier Smith Piper, Daniel
Robert Piper

Spouse: Jeffrey Ernest Evans (m. 1982–1987)

  • Adrian Piper Adrian Piperis is an American conceptual artist as well as a Kantian philosopher.
  • She draws on reflections of her own work experience to provide an illustration.
  • In the latter half of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, Piper was inspired by Sol LeWitt and Yvonne Rainer.
  • Piper was divorced but did not have children.
  • Piper was a summer resident in 1971 in her apartment in New York City.

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