A truly international movement from its inception in the 1960s, Conceptual Art was defined by an emphasis on idea over form, process over result, and a preference for the ephemeral over the permanent. Visitors to the major exhibition on view in Galleries 2 and 3 will encounter drawings, collages, photographs, books, floor pieces, and videotapes. What they won't find are paintings on canvas or conventional three-dimensional sculptures. Beyond Preconceptions: The Sixties Experiment examines the global reach of Conceptualism. The exhibition, curated by Milena Kalinovska, presents works by artists from Western and Eastern Europe, the United States, and South America, created during the pivotal period of the 1960s and early 1970s. Figures whose names are familiar to the art-going public - Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman, and Lawrence Weiner from the United States; Joseph Beuys from Germany; Ilya Kabakov from the Soviet Union, and Hélio Oiticica and Cildo Meireles from Brazil, among others - are joined by lesser-known but equally significant artists such as Betty Goodwin (Canada), Victor Grippo (Argentina), Anna Maria Maiolino (Brazil), Karel Malich (Czechoslovakia), Dimitrije Basicevic Mangelos (Yugoslavia), and John Latham (England). In the sixties, there was a synergy among artists who were searching for alternatives to the established modes of artmaking and exhibition. While their work might not carry a specific political message, these artists were profoundly connected to the political and rebellious spirit of an era marked by challenges to authority and tradition. This is not to say that the works on view in Beyond Preconceptions do not reflect the distinct histories and cultures of the artists who made them; rather, that all these artists were developing work that was process and idea oriented, as opposed to object centered. Eventually, the various strains of this new art were brought together under the rubric of Conceptual Art. Geopolitics, however, got in the way of Conceptual artists being exhibited and critically assessed together in those early years. This was particularly true for the artists of Eastern Europe and South America, the former working under politically repressive regimes with virtually no public or private support until the fall of Soviet Communism in the early 1990s. South American artists fared better but, until fairly recently, were underrecognized by the international art world. The art in the exhibition is formally and aesthetically diverse. Hanne Darboven bases her work on numerical and linguistic systems; Lawrence Weiner, On Kawara, and Marcel Broodthaers base theirs on text; Jiri Kolár, Edward Krasinski, and Eva Hesse make wall hangings and objects from rope, latex, cotton, wire, cardboard, and other materials not usually associated with art; John Latham, Cildo Meireles, and Victor Grippo manipulate and recontextualize found objects; Joseph Beuys, Lygia Clark, and Hélio Oiticica create garments, some of them used in performance. It is important to note that, during this same period, the San Francisco Bay Area produced its own Conceptual artists - Tom Marioni, Paul Kos, Howard Fried, Bonnie Sherk, Terry Fox, David Ireland, and others, who were mostly centered around Marioni's Museum of Conceptual Art. While they are not included in this exhibition, these artists were artistically in sync with their peers elsewhere, and were included in publications and international exhibitions. Presently on view in other galleries at BAMPFA are works by David Ireland (Galleries B and 6); Tom Marioni, and younger Conceptualists Gail Wight, William Rogan, and Chris Sollars (all in Gallery 6). Related touring exhibitions originating at BAMPFA include the works of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, on tour now; and full-scale retrospectives of Paul Kos and the collaborative Ant Farm planned for 2003 and 2004. Once thought to be an endgame - where do you go once the art object is diminished or eliminated? - Conceptualism has, on the contrary, proved to be enormously influential and adaptable, remaining a focus of contemporary exhibition and criticism. It is true that materials once considered strange are fully integrated into art practice, and that installation, performance, and video, once radical genres, now are de rigeur. But the open-minded and innovative attitudes of the first generation of Conceptualists, and their merging of art with the life around them, are strategies that today's Conceptualists embrace.