Contemplating Conceptual Art

Contemplating Conceptual Art, Blanton Museum of Art - Austin, Texas

Contemplating Conceptual Art, Blanton Museum of Art – Austin, Texas

This is perhaps the most interactive piece of art at the Blanton. This 1987 work by Cildo Meireles features 600,000 pennies, 800 communion wafers, 2,000 cattle bones, 80 paving stones all surrounded by translucent black cloth. But, it’s the copper pennies that get the most attention.

The conceptual art piece makes political and social critiques about the seventeenth and eighteenth century Jesuit missions in South America. It highlights the relationship between wealth, represented but he coins, agricultural exploitation represented by the cattle bones (not seen in this framing) and religion, represented by the column of communion wafers.

Heady stuff. I understand the concept. As a photographer, I’m most interesting in capturing people’s reaction to the artwork.


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