Installation art

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Installation art describes an artistic genre of site-specific, three-dimensional works designed to transform a viewer's perception of a space. Generally, the term is applied to interior spaces, whereas exterior interventions are often called Land art; however the boundaries between these terms overlap.

Contents

History

Installation art can be either temporary or permanent. Installation artworks have been constructed in exhibition spaces such as museums and galleries, as well as public- and private spaces. The genre incorporates a very broad range of everyday and natural materials, which are often chosen for their evocative qualities, as well as new media such as video, sound, performance, immersive virtual reality and the internet. Many installations are site-specific in that they are designed to exist only in the space for which they were created. A number of institutions focusing on Installation art were created from the 1980s onwards, suggesting the need for Installation to be seen as a separate discipline. These included the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, the Museum of Installation in London, and the Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor, MI, among others.

Installation art came to prominence in the 1970s but its roots can be identified in earlier artists such as Marcel Duchamp and his use of the readymade and Kurt Schwitters' Merz art objects, rather than more traditional craft based sculpture. The intention of the artist is paramount in much later installation art whose roots lie in the conceptual art of the 1960s. This again is a departure from traditional sculpture which places its focus on form. Early non-Western installation art includes events staged by the Gutai group in Japan starting in 1954, which influenced American installation pioneers like Allan Kaprow.

Installation

Installation as nomenclature for a specific form of art came into use fairly recently; its first use as documented by the OED was in 1969. It was coined in this context in reference to a form of art that had arguably existed since prehistory but was not regarded as a discrete category until the mid-twentieth century. Allan Kaprow used the term “Environment” in 1958 (Kaprow 6) to describe his transformed indoor spaces; this later joined such terms as “project art” and “temporary art.”

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