Artist and Musician Biographies

INTRODUCTION: MINIMAL ART

Untitled,
1968 by Donald Judd

Post-Painterly Abstraction brought the reductive process possibilities of pure painting to a logical end. Therefore, artists in the 1960's and 1970's who were exploring reductive notions had to find a new way to communicate their ideas. Abandoning the painted canvas, these artists explored the reductive tradition with highly experimental three dimensional work. This new brand of art was eventually labeled Minimal Art. Like manyother styles, a diverse group of artists were at one point or another during their careers classified as minimalists. These artists included Robert Morris, Daniel Buren, Dan Flavin, Tony Smith, Sol Lewitt, Ellsworth Kelly, Donald Judd, Dorothea Rockburn, Fred Sandback, Carl Andre, Richard Serra, and Eva Hesse.

The name Minimal was applied to this style because the art seemed to have a minimal amount of art content. It certainly did not refer to the real world as Pop Art did, it seemed to lack any of the emotional or expressive content characteristic of the Abstract Expressionism and it usually was so simple that it seemed to lack any internal, compositional relationships. The minimal artists were more interested in pure shape, color, and texture of the object and how it related to the viewer in space.

The work was often placed on the floor, abandoning the sculpture stand, to occupy the visitor's space to ensure that their attention was captured. The Minimalists created work which made the viewer participate and contemplate what its meaning or purpose was. They were interested in how a space could be transformed or altered by their art. The artists were often absent from the art making process itself, carrying the reductive tradition further.

The physical piece was sometimes made by following a set of instructions or diagrams with precision in factories. The Minimalists were interested in continuity and order. They were interested in what comes next and what the final piece was as a whole. Their work did not refer to anything because that would designate it as inferior towhat it represented. This belief is the basis of why their work was often titled as "Untitled". The meaning of the art could no longer be found within the art, but outside it in its surrounding environment. This cerebral approach to artoften implied that the idea was more important than the object, a line of thinking that eventually led to Conceptual Art.

Page author: L.C.