Bernar Venet

Overview

Bernar Venet (b. 1941, France) is a master of contemporary conceptual art who has worked in all media, from painting and sculpture to film, music and ballet. In his early work, Venet sought to distill art, to strip it of aesthetic or expressive content, and to reestablish it as purely “conceptual.” He withdrew from the art world in 1971, fulfilling a promise he had made four years prior to stop producing new work once he perceived that his term was up. After a six-year hiatus, the artist reemerged, and over the ...

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Overview

Bernar Venet (b. 1941, France) is a master of contemporary conceptual art who has worked in all media, from painting and sculpture to film, music and ballet. In his early work, Venet sought to distill art, to strip it of aesthetic or expressive content, and to reestablish it as purely “conceptual.” He withdrew from the art world in 1971, fulfilling a promise he had made four years prior to stop producing new work once he perceived that his term was up. After a six-year hiatus, the artist reemerged, and over the next thirty years produced a vast body of work in diverse media. This monograph, complete with over 300 illustrations, addresses the struggle of aesthetic and intellectual forces at play in contemporary art through the work of one of its foremost practitioners.Today, Venet’s sculptures–massive iron structures in three categories: lines and angles, arcs, and “indeterminate” lines–are exhibited in museums and public spaces across the world. These forms, whether striking out independently into the air, leaning against a château, curving upward from the earth, or twisting arbitrarily around themselves or each other, stand at the threshold between the physical and the abstract, between the material and the purely geometric–testing the liminal spaces between art, world, and mind.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This is the most extensive monograph (300 color illustrations) of the French-born Bernar Venet, who has been active in the New York art scene since the 1960s. Beginning as a conceptualist deeply influenced by Marcel Duchamp, Venet has gone on-after a Duchampian period of inactivity-to produce large metal sculptures reminiscent of works by Anthony Caro, Eduardo Chillida, and (remotely) Richard Serra, but with substantial mathematical or theoretical intentions behind them. The steel arcs and lines he employs in landscapes particularly have a certain freedom and playfulness, and his later, more geometric works relating directly to buildings are also very compelling. The text by Lenain (art history, Université Libre, Brussels) covers Venet's entire career and includes much firsthand interaction with the artist, whose conceptualist work in retrospect seems quite vital. Thomas McEvilley (art history, Rice Univ., TX) also contributes. For advanced collections with binding budgets.
—Jack Perry Brown

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9782080300140
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Publication date: 9/18/2007
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 9.75 (w) x 11.36 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Thierry Lenain is professor of art history at Universite Libre in Brussels. Thomas McEvilley is professor of art history at Rice University in Texas.

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