What Are The Main Characteristics Of Minimalism Art?

Minimalism Art

A unique art movement is the minimalism art movement. I have always loved the ingenuity and yet the simplicity of minimalism art.

Minimalism art started in New York City in the 1960s. The minimalist artist would use limit their use of lines, shapes, and colors in their art. The artwork had no trace of the artist’s emotions in the art. Minimalism art is considered an extreme form of abstract art. The most important geometric shapes in minimalism art are the square and rectangle.

Robert Morris
An Example of Minimalism Art by Robert Morris

Features of Minimalism Art

Minimalism art is an art movement that emerged in the mid 20th century. The Minimalism art elements use a minimum of lines, shapes, and many times colors. The Minimalism artwork may look and feel even sparse, restricted, or empty.

Here are some important features to understand about Minimalism art:

  • Developed in the USA – Minimalism was developed in New York City in the 1960s.
  • Different Names – The minimalism art movement is sometimes referred to as minimal art, ABC art, cool art, literalist art, object art, and primary structure art.
  • Flourished in the 1960s and 1970s – The Minimalism art movement flourished in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Famous Artist of Minimalism – Some of the more famous minimalism artists include Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, and Robert Morris. These artists did not really ever consider themselves minimalist artists.
  • Minimalism and Conceptual Art Link – Minimalism is linked to conceptual art. Conceptual art is an art movement that also flourished in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Art Viewing – Minimalism challenged how art was viewed. The Minimalism artists argued that the art object’s importance is misplaced.
  • Early Abstract Expressionism Influenced Minimalism Art – The early abstract movement was an important influence on the ideas and techniques that formed Minimalism art.
  • Rejected Much Abstract Expressionism – Minimalism art rejected most of the Abstract Expressionism art; minimalism wanted to obliterate expression from art.
  • Suprematist Influenced – The Suprematist Russian art movement also influenced Minimalism Art. Some of these influences included the geometric forms of the Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich (1878 – 1935) and his artwork as the Black Circle.
  • Minimalism Art Was Criticized – The art critics of the day criticize the minimalist movement. For example, Michael Fried’s critical article “In Art and Objecthood” strongly criticized minimalism art and what he saw as the arts “theatricality.”

Robert Morris, the Minimalism artist, said this about Minimalism art:

“No to transcendence and spiritual values, heroic scale, anguished decisions, historicizing narrative, valuable artifact, intelligent structure, interesting visual experience.”

Robert Morris

This is a very good video that talks about Minimalism Art

Characteristics of Minimalism Art

Most people usually recognized Minimalism art when they see it. This is because minimalism art has a minimalist or almost simplicity with art. But with all art movements, the minimalism art movement has some distinct characteristics.

Here are some characteristics of Minimalism art:

  • Geometric forms – Minimalist paintings and sculptures use geometric forms.
  • Square and Rectangle – The square and rectangle are the most important forms used in minimalism art.
  • Precise and hard-edged – The minimalist forms for painting and sculpture are generally composed of precise and hard-edged forms; this is why the square and rectangle are so popular as they give this precise and hard-edged form.
  • Limited color choices – Minimalism art usually uses a limited amount of colors. Minimalist artists may limit their color hues or use just one color.
  • Expressionless Colors – Color, if used, is non-referential or expressionless colors. This means that if the artist uses a dark color, he cannot portray a somber mood. The color is not there to try to express an emotion or refer to anything.
  • Non-object Art – The idea of minimalism art is not to show any external references or gestures.
  • Truth in Art – One of minimalism art characteristics is about truth in art; this means that minimalism art offers a highly purified form of beauty. It does not pretend to be something other than exactly what it is.
  • Order, Simplicity, and Harmony – Some elements of Minimalism art are about the order, simplicity, and harmony.
  • Repetition – There is often some form of repetition in minimalist art. The repeating of the forms may highlight the subtle differences between each of the repetitions being used.
  • Lack of Expression – A lot of minimalist art lacks expression; this means there is no trace of emotion or intuitive decision-making. The artist does not reveal their personality or emotions in the artwork. Minimalist artists do not see art as a unique creation that reflects the artist’s personal expression, but they see art as impersonal or neutral.
  • Interest in Viewer Reaction- The Minimalism artist is interested in the relationship between the different parts of the artwork and how the artwork’s viewers see this relationship. In other words, two people could look at a piece of minimalist art, and both may see something different.
  • Industrial, store-bought, or factory manufactured materials. – Some of the minimalist artists, particularly those dealing with sculptures, may use everyday material such as brick tiles and light bulbs for their sculpture.
  • Some Did Not Consider Themselves Artists – Some of the minimalist artists did not really consider themselves artists. Carl Andre was known to say that “I’m not a studio artist. I’m am a location artist.
Carl Andre
An Example of Minimalism Art by Carl Andre

Where To See Some of the Best Minimalism Art?

Some of the key collections of Minimalism Art can be viewed in these museums around the world:

  • Tate Modern in London, England.
  • Museum of Modern Art in New York City, New York
  • Guggenheim Museum in New York City, New York
  • Guggenheim Bilbao in Bilbao in Spain
  • Modern Museum of Art of Fort Worth in Fort Worth, Texas
  • Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey
  • Museum Boijimans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas
  • Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Germany.

Conclusion

Minimalism art is an art movement that changed the way art was viewed around the world. The art is not just a shape or form, but an artistic shape or form that allows the viewer to view the art. Not everyone will see and understand the same thing when they view art. This is one of the things that I really love about minimalism art.

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Anita Louise Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Louise Hummel. I am an artist and a blogger. I paint mainly oil paints. I love to paint women, animals (mainly dogs and cats), and abstracts. I use a lot of gold and silver leaf in my paintings. I also love to blog about anything to do with art, business, Procreate, and all the wonderful artists that inspire me.

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