Installation Art

Installation Art is typically site-based and relates to three-dimensional artworks. Installation Art invariably refers to interior installed works; exterior pieces are referred to as Land Art. Installation Art has its origins in the 1960s but grew to greater prominence during the subsequent decade. Works may be permanent or temporary in nature. Many museums and galleries host works of Installation Art for special exhibitions. Other works may be installed within private or public spaces.



Many Installation Art pieces have been designed in the context of their proposed space. Unlike a non-descript museum wall where framed artworks are displayed, the space surrounding the installed work is part and parcel of the work itself. The environment of the work becomes part of the artistic experience when it comes to Installation Art. While some works of Marcel Duchamp might be called Installation Art in nature, the term wasn’t actually coined until the 1960s.

Though a relatively new art form, Installation Art has attracted many artists in spite of the fact that it is rarely a sellable art form. However, its distinctive qualities and the unique manner of exhibition attract viewers. Installation Art also ranges from simple designs to complex. It can depict various styles from Pop Art to Minimalism. A work may embody any style, however.

During the 1960s and 1970s, many artists viewed Installation Art as a means to create non-collectible art–art that transcended the collectible work or art object. Recently, though, technology has also influenced the work of Installation Artists who have been creating installations of immersion whereby viewers are immersed in a virtual reality. The most recent trend in Installation Art includes various digital art forms such as video, film, and sound.

One of the earliest works that helped pioneer the art form was The Void (1958) by Max Klein. The work was a white gallery space–open and empty. Another early work to gain attention was Words (1961) by Allan Kaprow which featured randomly displayed rolls of paper with words. As spectators walked through the jumble of words, they would listen to music played on multiple record players.

As Installation Art has evolved, it has come to be a broad term that reflects a multitude of styles and mediums. Many recent works have emphasized the interactive experience of the viewer. Styles of the 1980s, however, emphasized more lavish displays–a major departure from the minimalist displays that often featured natural materials of the 1960s and 1970s. Most importantly, perhaps, the movement continues to change, reflect new styles, and attract new artists to its form.