Minimalism (art)

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The minimalism or English minimal art is one in the early 1960s in the United States as a countermovement to gestural painting of Abstract Expressionism art created flow of the visual arts ( painting , sculpture , object art ). In the architecture is minimalist represented since the 1980s.

Minimal art

Minimalism strives for objectivity, schematic clarity, logic and depersonalization. Typical for sculptures and objects of minimalism are the reduction to simple and clear, mostly geometric basic structures (so-called primary structures ), often in serial repetition, industrial production as well as the use of finished products, e.g. B. Stone and metal tiles ( Carl Andre ), neon tubes ( Dan Flavin ), steel frames ( Donald Judd ), or the oversized enlargement ( Ronald Bladen , Tony Smith ). This created their own orders, with their own rules and laws, which operated with opposites such as beginning and end, abundance and emptiness. Representatives of minimalist sculpture are also John McCracken , Sol LeWitt , Walter De Maria , Robert Morris , Larry Bell , Anne Truitt and Fred Sandback . Although colors and shapes were reduced to the simplest in painting (to basic structures, monochrome and geometric surfaces), minimalism is predominantly applied to three-dimensional art. Based on constructivist ideas, important pioneers of this pictorial conception of art were James Rosenquist , Ellsworth Kelly , Frank Stella , Jo Baer and Agnes Martin .

The term was coined in 1965 by the British philosopher and art critic Richard Wollheim in his essay Minimal Art (in: Art Magazine , January 1965), which, however, referred to another art. Donald Judd was also important for the formation of the concept , according to his ideas it was about giving the color a plastic form in order to work into the space (see Judd's article Specific Objects , 1965). This “staging” into the room also had a decisive influence on the development of postmodern conceptual and action art in the wake of minimalism.

Minimalism was understood as a specifically American art movement that sought to differentiate itself from European traditions (such as Constructivism , Concrete Art , painting at the Bauhaus ). The term would apply equally to European sculptors working with geometric structures, such as Max Bill , Erwin Heerich , Peter Roehr , Ulrich Rückriem or Helmut Federle .
In the architecture and landscape architecture of the 20th century, minimalism, especially the sculptures by Donald Judd , Carl Andre and Sol LeWitt, alongside Land Art with its strong spatial expressiveness, was one of the most important sources of inspiration whose influence can still be felt today.
The exhibition Primary Structures , which took place in the Jewish Museum in New York in 1966, paved the way for the minimalism trend . In 1968, works of American minimal art were shown for the first time in an exhibition tour entitled minimal art in Europe. Compiled by the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag , where the exhibition took place in 1968, the exhibition was also presented in the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf in cooperation with the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, also in Düsseldorf, and in a third station at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. Another important exhibition of the 1960s is the exhibition The return of the real from 1968 in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which was subsequently taken over at the Kunsthaus Zürich under the title The Space in American Art 1948–1968 . In 1968, many of the artists who were represented in these exhibitions could also be seen at the 4th documenta in Kassel.


See also


  • Minimalisms - Forms of Reception in the 90s , exhibition cat. and KongressAkademie der Künste und Podewil, Berlin, 1998, edited by Christoph Metzger, Nina Möntmann and Sabine Sanio on behalf of the Berlin Society for New Music in collaboration with the Friends of Dt. Kinemathek, Cantz series, Ostfildern, ISBN 3-89322-961-2
  • Minimal Art , exhibition cat. Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Art gallery and art association for the Rhineland and Westphalia, Düsseldorf; Academy of Arts, Berlin, 1969.
  • Gregory Battcock, Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology , NY, 1968, University of California Press, (Reprint) 1995
  • Margit Brinkmann, Minimal art - establishment and communication of modern art in the 1960s , dissertation, University of Bonn, Philosophical Faculty, born in 2006 [1] (first comprehensive historical review of the topic in German), and "Minimal Art - The Making of", Saarbrücken 2008, ISBN 978-3-8364-5882-5
  • Donald Judd, Complete Writings, 1959-1975 , Nova Scotia 1975.
  • Gregor Stemmrich (Ed.), Minimal Art. A critical retrospective , Dresden 1995. ISBN 978-3-86572-554-7
  • A minimal future? Art as object 1958–1968 , ed. Ann Goldstein , exhibition cat. Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles 2004. ISBN 0262072513
  • Daniel Marzona, Minimal Art , Taschen: Köln 2004 ISBN 3-8228-3058-5 (introduction)
  • James Meyer (Ed.): Minimalism , Phaidon Verlag, Berlin 2005 ISBN 0-7148-9426-5 (informative illustrated book with important sources)

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The New Druids , Newsweek magazine, May 16, 1966
  2. ^ Bruce Altshuler: The Avant-Garde in Exhibition: New Art in the 20th Century , Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 1994
  3. -sol-lewitt-robert-morris-tony-smith-robert-smithson-michael-steiner / oclc / 163121917 | Exhibition catalog from the Gemeentenmuseum from 1968