Documenting Douglas Huebler: His Early Conceptual Works, 1968-1975

Haviland, Mary, History of Art and Architecture - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Crane, Sheila, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia


This dissertation considers the early conceptual work of Douglas Huebler, from 1968 to 1975, focusing on his drawings, mapping, and photographic strategies. It argues for his singular place in the emergence of American conceptual art merited by his inventive linguistic approach to the image, a systematic procedure that extended beyond the conventional tenets of conceptualism and generated a particular openness to his surrounding world.
This is the first monographic treatment of Huebler’s early career, examining the critical phases of his work in relation to the art and linguistic currents of the time. The introduction contains biographical information relevant to Huebler’s production—his path from Michigan to his innovative years at Bradford College in Massachusetts where he began his conceptual art in collaboration with New York curator Seth Siegelaub. Each chapter includes detailed analyses of selected works from his categories of location, duration, and variables, those pieces that have particular significance in relation to his carefully devised text. His work is situated in relation to other artists producing in a similar vein during the 1960s and 70s, such as John Baldessari, Lawrence Weiner, and Robert Smithson. Huebler often preferred procedure by chance, presenting the results as snapshot photographs that were shuffled in sequence and often with seemingly disjunctive language. Using the caption, cliché and aphorism, Huebler asks the reader to question conditions of appearance in the photographs, allowing the viewer to go beyond direct visual perception. The dissertation concludes with a look at his Everyone Alive series.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Douglas Huebler, conceptual art
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