Minimalism (1950s – 1960s)

Minimalism emerged in New York during the 1950s, and was a major movement of the postmodern era in art, characterised by the strict emphasis artist’s paid to simplicity of both form and content. This art movement was seen as a response to the excesses of Abstract Expressionism and was closely associated with Jacques Derrida’s theory of Deconstruction. Minimalist artists aimed to remove the distractions of composition and theme in order to allow viewers to experience the materiality of artwork. The movement evolved from the simplistic geometric forms seen in earlier artworks such as Kazmir Malevich’s “Black Circle” of 1913, and Marcel Duchamp’s “Ready-Mades”. However, one of the first artist linked to the movement was the abstract expressionist painter, Frank Stella whose black and white “pin-striped” paintings gained great popularity by 1959.

Minimalist paintings and sculptures primarily consisted of precise geometric forms with smooth coloured or uncoloured planes. These artworks were also focused away from emotional or socio-political content such as hierarchy by depicting geometrically regular and often repeated compositions. A minimalist painter or sculptor for instance would’ve been more interested in how viewers perceived the relationships between different design elements rather than getting into any underlying reasoning. Minimalist artist sought to removing the distinctions between painting and sculpture where we see yet another manifestation of post modern thinking. The movement primarily rejected the 1930s Formalist notions suggested by Clement Greenberg and his contemporaries, which to them limited their means of artistic exploration.

During the late 1960s however, Minimalism began to expand into other artistic disciplines such as Art and Objecthood and Post-Minimalism which incorporated many new ideals, use of new media and philosophies. Land art for example was one such alternate means of art appreciation , born from Post-Modern or Post-Minimal thinking as it challenged the notions of what was considered sculpture. Michael Heizer and his other contemporaries henceforth sought to do away with structured gallery spaces, and chose to instead transform the outdoor environment into an artistic material.

Minimalist Artwork


Blue (1953), Ad Reinhardt


Steel Aluminium Plain (1969), Carl Andre

Minimalist Inspired Artwork

D800 2012-07-20-065-1a.jpg

All about Minimalism (2012), Kuki Walsch


Christian Beirle Gonzalez, Minimal Exposition



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