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Observation and conceptualization are not two separable aspects of one process: As Burn wrote in 1968 in »Altered Photographs«, through conceptualization, perception can be differentiated into several levels of observation with different stages of abstraction - or, perception never occurred in any way except through the formation of patterns of perception (see Section III.3) and of a »grid« comprising different »levels or stratifications«: »'s the grid which structures our perceiving.«10 In his »Introduction« to the first issue of »Art-Language« in 1969, Terry Atkinson presented the model case of a text that is presented in the same way that a drawing on paper would be in a glass frame.11 With the text work »Print (2 sections A & B)« (1966)12, the text presented in such a manner posed its own questions regarding its status at its place of presentation: Does its two-dimensional form of presentation - the white sheet of paper - make it a work of art or does the work as text draw consequences from Marcel Duchamp's Ready-Mades? Not only are the medium differentiae of painting, sculpture, drawing problematic for the determination of the status of art, but so are other general morphological criteria.13 Questions concerning the determination of art based on uniqueness, and above all on skill or craftsmanship and visual appeal, have been replaced in object art by questions concerning the condition under which objects are chosen: These objects need not be unique, the conditions under which they are chosen need not be art-specific. In object art, semantic criteria of selection (for example, the selection of unique objects or of reproduced objects because they are relics or consumer goods), as well as the method and place of presentation, play at least as great a role as visual appearance does. Since questions concerning the definition of art and the selection of exhibitable objects according to morphological criteria became problematic, artistic work can no longer be limited to an object area that is only comprehensible in phenomenal terms. If an artist no longer takes the established »framework«14 - one that ties the function of art to the presentation of objects at exhibitions - for granted, then he can see his work as consisting in the search for an alternative »framework« for art to function in or as art. This search can begin with an analysis of the basic social and economic conditions of the »institution of art«15 , including art criticism, the art trade, and the organization of museums.

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