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Minimalism was another art form that was extremely popular during the 60s and 70s. This art form started to emerge during the early 1960s in New York. Artists were rebelling against the art that they felt had become too academic and stale. The artists during this movement started to rediscover some classic influences while embracing new styles, leading these young artists to question any conventional boundaries and wanted to focus on the materiality of the part pieces. This style of art was one that became incredibly important to the art world, especially as it had become on trend in both Europe and America. Eventually, a new movement known as post-minimalism grew out of this movement.
Goal of Minimalism
Prior to the popularity of minimalism, people enjoyed the dramatic art of the abstract expressionist movement. This movement wants to avoid the conventional aesthetics of this movement, rather focusing on just creating simple but beautiful art using different mediums. For example, there was a great interest in the constructivist approach, using industrial materials and modular fabrication instead of the typical approaches to creating sculptures. These particular artists connected their narrative or meaning to art pieces that looked like they were built in a factory.
From an aesthetic standpoint, minimalist art is considered to be pure. It doesn’t pretend to be art that it isn’t. Instead, it sticks to qualities of simplicity, harmony, and truth. While it did rebel against the popular abstract art of the time, that doesn’t mean it didn’t gain inspiration from it. They just wanted to simplify it, creating a representation of an idea that was considered to be more pure. These artists did use geometric patterns like those used in abstract art, but they created more simple versions of it using prefabricated materials or painting.
Monochrome paintings were used during this time, due to the simplistic approach it offers painters. It was never as popular as some other trends, but there were many artists who dedicated themselves to this approach. Today this has been something well loved by those who love more modern looks. This is a minimal color scheme that does work to get the point across, which is why there are some artists who strictly use this approach in their art work.
A turning point of the minimalist movement was an art exhibit called “Primary Structures”, which happened in 1966 at the Jewish Museum in New York. There were several artists involved with this exhibit including Tony Smith and Dan Flavin. This exhibit was met with both media and critical success, featuring bare materials that had shiny and smooth surfaces. The idea with this exhibit was that the artist wasn’t necessarily the one who created the piece themselves but rather designed the pieces which were made by others. While some argued that certain pieces shouldn’t be credited with the art because they didn’t create it with their own hands, the idea was that maybe the final result of the piece was the most important thing.