European & American Art Minimalism & Conceptual art
Minimalism and Conceptual Art were primary movements in the 1960s and 1970s. Artists reduced art to its bare essentials, producing works that are remarkable for their apparent lack of content. Many painters created works using line and broad areas of colour, while sculptors began to focus on the nature of their materials. They aimed for a viewing experience unaffected by anything but the work of art itself.
Minimalism describes radical developments within the New York art scene of the 1960s, and is identified with the work of sculptors Donald Judd, Robert Morris and Sol LeWitt, and painters such as Jo Baer and Robert Ryman. It is characterised by an aesthetic of austerity. Sculptures consist of reductive or primary forms in modular and serial arrangements, fabricated using industrial materials and methods. Paintings are simple, geometric, often monochromatic. Artists such as Bridget Riley and Frank Stella represent a parallel current in art: their experiments with periodic structures, colour combinations and surface modulation show a similar concern to make work within particular strictures or with an economy of means.
Later, Conceptual artists took their criticism of Western art and capitalism one step further and sought to practise outside the art market. Favouring an engagement with ideas over a unique object, Conceptual artists’ use of text, multiples, performance and other ‘actions’, were intended to radically demystify the art-making process.Ironically, their work served to distance the audience to which the artists tried to appeal. InCubic modular piece no.3Lewitt makes use of the square ― a basic component of visual language ― to build this simple geometric arrangement into a network of cubes. The artist chose to make it white, the ‘least expressive’ colour.