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Art & Language

The artist group Art & Language is considered a significant influence on conceptual art in Great Britain and the USA. It was founded in 1968 by Terry Atkinson and Michael Baldwin, who met while studying at Coventry College of Art. The group quickly expanded to include other members such as David Bainbridge and Harold Hurrel. As the group progressed, it merged with members of the New York Society for Theoretical Art and Analysis and grew to 15 members in the early 1970s, with a total of 20 members involved during its active years.

The group's goal was to challenge traditional, nonverbal forms of art expression such as painting and sculpture and to pursue new, conceptual, theoretical, analytical, and text-based ways of producing art. Communication and social exchange were the focus of the conceptual works, both as a form of expression and as an internal way of working. As a medium, it published the journal Art-Language beginning in 1969 and founded the publishing house Art & Language Press in Cambridge.

The group's political involvement caused it to disintegrate in the late 1970s. Many members went elsewhere to continue their political activism and to carry on the ideals they had developed at Art & Language. Others drifted away from the group due to new professional situations. As of 1977, Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsben remained as the core, based in Bandbury, Oxfordshire. Nevertheless, Art & Language remained active and participated in Documenta 5, Documenta 6, Documenta 7, and Documenta 10, among others, exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art New York, and was nominated for the Turner Prize.


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