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Joseph Kosuth is widely recognized as a pioneer of Conceptual and installation art. For over six decades, he has been renowned for his language-based works and appropriation strategies that have challenged traditional notions of art. Through his oeuvre, Kosuth has consistently explored the production and role of language and meaning within the realm of art.

Kosuth was born in 1945 in Toledo, Ohio. He received his early artistic training at the Toledo Museum School of Design from 1955 to 1962, studying under the tutelage of the Belgian painter Line Bloom Draper. Kosuth went on to enroll at the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1963 to 1964. In 1964 and 1965, he furthered his studies with Roger Barr at the American Center in Paris.

In 1965, Kosuth relocated to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts. He eventually joined the institution's faculty, but it was during this time that he abandoned painting and began creating conceptual works. These works were first exhibited in 1967 at the Museum of Normal Art, a gallery space that Kosuth co-founded. Two years later, Kosuth held his inaugural solo exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. In the same year, he became the American editor of the influential journal Art and Language.

Between 1971 and 1972, Joseph Kosuth pursued studies in philosophical anthropology and philosophy under the guidance of Stanley Diamond at The New School for Social Research in New York. The philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, among other influential thinkers, greatly impacted Kosuth's artistic development from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s. For over fifty years, Kosuth has been engaged in exploring the relationship between language and art through a variety of mediums, including installations, museum exhibitions, public commissions, and publications in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. His work has been featured in major international exhibitions such as Documenta and the Venice Biennale on multiple occasions.

Kosuth currently resides and works in both New York and London. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to the arts, including the Brandeis Award in 1990, the Frederick Wiseman Award in 1991, the Menzione d’Onore at the Venice Biennale in 1993, and the Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government in 1993, among others. In 1968, he received a Cassandra Foundation Grant. In 1999, the French government issued a postage stamp in honor of his work in Figeac. In 2001, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Philosophy and Letters from the University of Bologna, Italy. In 2003, he received the Decoration of Honour in Gold for services to the Republic of Austria, the highest honor bestowed by the Austrian Republic for accomplishments in science and culture. Kosuth's work, ni apparence ni illusion, opened at the Musée du Louvre in Paris in 2009 and became a permanent installation in 2014. In 2012, he was inducted into the Royal Belgian Academy. His work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at institutions such as the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow, Russia; the Kunstmuseums Thurgau in Warth, Switzerland; Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich, Switzerland; and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne, Australia, among others. In 2019, Kosuth installed permanent public installations at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Florida, and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California. His work is featured in major private and public collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Tate Gallery in London, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Louvre Museum in Paris, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, among many others.