Archive for the ‘ I ’ Category


Dates: 1970-Present

Origin: International

Key Artists: Cornelia Parker, James Turrell

A term which arose in the early 1970s to describe works of art constructed in galleries and other places—such as warehouses and museums—for specific exhibitions. The term has been applied to a diverse range of phenomena, and has been used synonymously with other terms such as assemblage and Environmental art. Installation art does relate to these other forms in that they all reject concentration on one object in favour of a consideration of the relationships between various elements. However, an installation may perhaps be distinguished from these other types of art by the extent to which it is bound up with the concept of ‘site-specificity’, relating it to land art (which has been interpreted as a branch of Installation art). Unlike Land art, though, installations are generally concerned with the occupation of internal spaces.

The relationships between exhibition space and work of art are in fact so closely connected in much Installation art that the distinction between the two is deliberately annulled. An example is Vault (1992; London, Mus. Installation) by Chris Jennings (1949– ). Constructed so as to rely on its site, the piece was composed of metal rods creating a series of arcs which were supposed to define the space around them. In other works, the same objects are rearranged according to site. Antony Gormley (1950– ) created several different versions of Field, one having clay figures arranged in a radiating pattern (1989; Sydney, AG NSW), another involving the occupation by more than 35,000 such figures of an entire gallery (1991; New York, Salvatore Ala Gal.).

Parfitt, Oliver. “Installation art.” The Oxford Companion to Western Art. Ed. Hugh Brigstocke. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <>

Cornelia Parker



Dates: 1882-1895

Origin: France

Key Artists: Eugene Bataille (Sapeck)

The Incoherents (Les Arts Incohérents) was a short-lived French art movement founded by Parisian writer and publisher Jules Lévy, which in its satirical irreverence anticipated many of the art techniques and attitudes later associated with avant-garde and anti-art. Lévy coined the phrase “les arts incohérents” as a play on the common expression “les arts décoratifs.” The Incoherents presented work which was deliberately irrational and iconoclastic, “found” art objects, the drawings of children, and drawings “made by people who don’t know how to draw.”

Wikipedia contributors. “Incoherents.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 6 Jun. 2009. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. <;




Dates: 1862-1886

Origin: France

Key Artists: Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

A movement in French painting, associated particularly with Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Degas, and Renoir, characterized by the use of a bright palette, broken brushwork, and an emphasis on depictions of contemporary life and landscape. The term was originally coined as a form of satire by the critic Louis Leroy reviewing the first exhibition of the Société Anonyme des artistes, peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs…which opened on 15 April 1874, at the Parisian studio of the photographer Nadar on the boulevard des Capucines, and is nowadays referred to as the first Impressionist exhibition. Monet’s painting Impression: Sunrise 1873 (Musée Marmottan, Paris) was singled out for particular attack, Leroy maintaining that the term ‘impression’ was too personal and should not have been used in a picture title (effet, i.e. an effect of nature, would have been preferable). In fact, ‘impression’ had a complex duality in 19th-century artistic theory, implying on the one hand the reception by the artist of the scene presented to him, on the other the subjective trace of the artist’s own nature or temperament in the resulting work of art. The term ‘Impressionist’ rapidly went into widespread usage as a result of the 1874 exhibition and a further seven shows were staged, the last in 1886. There were a number of important contributory factors to the evolution of Impressionism: a growing interest in colour theory and the laws of complementary contrasts; an increasing liking, among landscape painters, for working en plein air; and a growing dissatisfaction with the official Salon exhibitions where many of the young Impressionists experienced frequent rejection. By the time of the final 1886 Impressionist exhibition, many of the participants had begun to experience considerable success, lauded by avant-garde critics and increasingly patronized by enlightened collectors. It was in the 1890s, however, that Impressionism really began to find its international market, especially in America (Britain by contrast was curiously slow to appreciate its merits). Paradoxically, it was also around this time that Impressionism began to be perceived, in certain right-wing religious circles in France, as the art of materialism, concerned only with the everyday. As a style it had become widespread, attracting a plethora of minor and repetitive adherents. Nevertheless, in the course of the 20th century Impressionism can fairly claim to have become the most widely popular of all movements with art lovers and collectors.

“Impressionism.” The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms. Oxford Art Online. 11 Mar. 2010 <;

Claude Monet