Installation Art and Three-Dimensional Art

Topic 2: Installation Art and Three-Dimensional Art

  • The creation of installations instead of art objects in the traditional sense offers contemporary artists make use of unconventional materials or spaces. Installations also offer viewers a more participatory experience than conventional art forms, allowing them to interact with a work of art or immerse themselves in a created environment. A celebrated recent example is Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds, which involved filling a space at the Tate Museum with one hundred million hand-crafted porcelain sunflower seeds.

  • Among the better known installations are those created by Jeanne-Claude and Christo, which often involved wrapping or draping features of the landscape or of the urban environment in massive quantities of fabric. The idea is to transform the environment itself into a work of art, and to make use newly aware of the way we experience. The temporary nature of these installations to unexpected changes or accidents, give the work a temporal dimension as a well as a spatial one. This type of installation has affinities with the earth art movement of the 1970s.

  • Installations also allow artists to incorporate new technology - audio, video, and electronic media. These can be used to create interactive works that provides viewers with an experience that engages multiple senses and unfolds in time as well as in space.

  • Sculpture and other three-dimensional works of art may offer viewers an experience similar to that of an installation. They may also relate to previous works of art, or to accepted ideas of what art is. The works of El Anatsui, for instance, involve found objects, often metal, formed into new works that resemble textiles and that blur the line between art and craft. The works of Jeff Koons, which flaunt their origins in popular culture and their machine-made nature, also raise questions about how we define art.

Related Links:
Architecture and Installation Art Quiz
Painting, Photography, and the Graphic Arts
AP Art History Quizzes
AP Art History Notes