Minimalism/ Process Art Minimalism was typically a North American( New York and California) trend in the visual arts, music, design, and literature that appeared from in the early 1960s. In the visual arts, the artworks are characterized by: 1‐ reductive geometry, 2‐ the use of ready‐ made, industrial materials, 3‐ the literal declaration of plastic elements, 4‐ emphasis on phenomenological processes 5‐ object‐ oriented production ( “ neither painting nor sculpture”) 6‐ the exteriorization of meaning ( context) Originally named “ ABC Art”, “ Literalist Art” ( Michael Fried), “ Reductive Art”, “ Primary Structure” the name “ Minimalism” dominated the art circuit in the 2nd half of the 1960s. Artists: Frank Stella, Anne Truitt, Tony Smith, John MacCracken, Mark di Suvero, Robert Mangold, Walter de Maria, Ronald Bladen, Larry Bell, Robert Smithson, Robert Ryman, and Richard Serra, among many others. Most important artists ( canon): Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Carl Adre, Dan Flavin, and Sol Le Witt
Minimalism might also be defined in “ negative terms”, meaning a set of operations made as regards the rejection of previous art history. In this sense, Minimalism was: ‐ anti‐ illusion ( literalism) ‐ anti‐ allusive ‐ anti‐ compositional ( the use of identical elements in series) ‐ anti‐ artistic ‐ anti‐ expressive Minimalism might be understood as a response to three contexts: 1 Developments of the Art Market during the late 1950s and 1960s with the appearance of new galleries Leo Castelli, Tibor de Nagy, Green Gallery, and Dwan galleries ( commercial circuit). The association among artists was more based on competition than collaboration ( for example: Donald Judd and Robert Morris)
Was Minimalism a fashion?
2‐ Creation of new art magzines: Arts. Artforum. Art International (directly funded by many galleries), and Art News Artforum was founded in San Francisco ( 1962), moved to Los Angeles ( 1965), and was definitively established in New York ( 1967). The issues of 1966 were practically dedicated to the new style. The creation of new art magazines was required by an educated, middle‐ class public that could understand advanced art. The pedagogical effort of the previous decades has finally showed results
Those magazines required that the artists knew how to formulate their ideas theoretically, also demanding a new generation of critics to address the new art. Eventually, Minimalism reveals a complex artistic system of interdependent terms. new galleries – new magazines – new critics – new art
Donald Judd is a good example of the convergence of the roles of critic and artist. But also Robert Morris, Sol Le Witt, and Robert Smithson published several essays and were know because of their theoretical positions. 3 Artistic Debate The impact of the work of Frank Stella in the late 1950s and early 1960s on the young artists of his generation, in particular Carl Andre. The discussion of Russian Constructivism by The Great Experiment: Russian Art 1963‐ 1922 ( Camilla Grey) An attack against Abstract Expressionism (against its expressiveness, its notion of artistry, its emphasis on strong personality of the artist, etc.) Polarization of the debate in the mid‐ 1960s: High Modernism X Minimalism Ironically, one of the most important texts to analyze minimalism in the 1960s was a harsh criticism of its achievements written by Michael Fried: “ Art and Objecthood” ( 1967)
History of Minimalism: Articulation 1959 1963 Impact of the work of Frank Stella Carl Andre begins his sculptural analysis of the work of Constantin Brancusi Robert Morris involvement with dance through Simoni Forty. Morris mounted one of the first installations of contemporary at Yoko Ono’s loft in New York. Dan Flavin, Sol Le Witt, Robert Ryman, and Robert Mangold met in several occasions ( both Mangold and Ryman were co‐worers at the Museum of Modern Art of New York) Green Gallery hired Donald Judd and Robert Morris, who developed their works in opposition to one another. In 1963 first individual exhibition of Donald Judd and Robert Moriss at the Green Gallery 2 Minimalism as a trend in the visual arts appeared in the period of 1964 1967 By the mid‐ 1960s, every major Minimalist had already his/ her sole exhibition. Primary Structure show at the Jewish Museum in 1966. Publication of important essays “ Specific Object” ( 1965) by Donald Judd “ Notes on Sculpture” ( 1966) by Robert Morris
Criticism of Michael Fried’s “ art and Obejecthood” ( 1967), clearly dividing the field of art into two opposing trends. 3 Beyond Minimalism As soon as Minimalism became established in North America, its main areas of research were given continuity by what is named Post Minimalism Process Art: Robert Morris, Richard Serra, Carl Andre, Eva Hesse Environmental Art: Robert Smithson Site Specificity: Richard Serra, Daniel Buren Institutional Critique: Daniel Buren, Hans Haack Midterm review hints: ‐ Definition of 5 Concepts: Ex; abstract expressionism ‐ Questions based on the reading ‐ Questions about his lectures: Ex: what is literary art? How is it connected to contemporary art? How is it interesting?