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What is minimalism? It is an art movement that appeared in New-York in 1960s. Its alternative names minimal art and ABC art seem to accentuate the laconism of the art.
It is an art that seeks to escape from itself. The fewer processed materials and surfaces, the better. The less visible the artist’s touch is, and the more industrially produced elements the artwork contains, the more advanced it is.
Simple geometric shapes and lines, several repeats, simple colors, minimum of shades. Artworks are made of such industrial materials as plywood, metal, bricks, plexiglass, neon tubes, etc.
The emergence of the minimalist style was preceded by several events in the artistic life of the USA of the 1950s-1960s.
In the late 1950s, the American artist Frank Stella created a series of black paintings, laconic black and white paintings with simple lines. In the 1960s, the British art historian Camilla Gray published books and articles in the United States on Eastern European avant-garde. Thanks to the books, artists on the western coast of the Atlantic got closer acquainted with constructivism traditions of the beginning of the twentieth century, which resulted in the emergence of a new movement in art. The first minimalism artworks appeared in 1962-1963.
They were artists response to complex forms of abstract expressionism.
The trend towards simplification again replaced the trend towards complexity. Minimalist painting often consists in simple geometric abstraction.
Many artworks of this genre serve as good wall art, unobtrusive abstraction for home interior.
PROMINENT MINIMALIST ARTISTS
Donald Judd is one of the leading artists of the post-war USA. He started his way in the minimalist art as an art critic, but in the late 1940s he began painting. He called his artworks specific objects, and firstly created them of wood, later of metal. Judd’s installations were exhibited in open spaces, and his favorite materials were plywood, metal and Plexiglas. He mostly applied industrial method of creating his artworks.
The minimalist style cannot be imagined without the artist Dan Flavin. In 1961 he started creating artworks… with electric light. He often dedicates artworks without a name to relatives and friends. The artist worked on The Monument to Vladimir Tatlin from 1964 to 1990. One of his artworks is used as decoration of a church in Milan, Italy.
Sol Lewitt is a minimalist artist, conceptualist, and an art theorist. He is a creator of sculptures, drawings, and wall paintings, and his art was strongly influenced by Eastern European constructivism and avant-garde. He expressed his creative ideas with the help of simple geometric shapes.
MINIMALISM IN ART
Later, minimalism evolutionized, and gave rise to such art movements as neo-minimalism and post-minimalism. Paradoxically, striving to get away from boring traditional art, minimalist artists got away from art in general.
However, the emotionless geometric forms they created appealed to art curators, art dealers and journalists.
Experts see minimalism as an intellectual art rejecting redundancy in favor of purity of the idea.