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Art Movement Report:

Minimalism
Key information
Minimalism emerged in New York in the early 1960s
among artists who were self-consciously renouncing
recent art they thought had become stale and
academic. Minimalism became popular in America
and Europe through a variety of forces including
museum curators, art dealers, and publications,
plus new systems of private and government Sol LeWitt http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artwork
patronage. Two Open Modular Cubes s/lewitt-two-open-modular-cubes-
1972 half-off-t01865
It is a term used to describe paintings and sculpture
that succeed on simplicity in both content and form, and
seek to remove any sign of personal expressivity.

The aim of Minimalism is to allow the viewer to experience the work more intensely without the
distractions of composition, theme and so on. Minimalism has proved itself highly successful and has
been highly influential on the development of art in the 20th century. Painters and sculptors avoided clear
symbolism and emotional content, but instead called attention to the materiality of the works.
http://www.theartstory.org/movement-minimalism.htm

http://www.artmovements.co.uk/minimalism.htm

Minimal Art emerged as a movement in the 1950s and continued through the Sixties and
Seventies. Minimal Art is related to a number of other movements such as Conceptual Art in the
way the finished work exists merely to convey a theory, Pop Art in their shared fascination with the
impersonal and Land Art in the construction of simple shapes.
http://www.artmovements.co.uk/minimalism.htm

Key features
Became popular in America and Europe due to museum curators, art dealers and publications.
A term used to describe paintings and sculptures that succeed on simplicity in both content and
form.
Its aim is to allow the viewer to experience the work more intensely with no distractions of
composition.
Highly influential on the development of art in the 20th century.
Artists avoided symbolism and emotional content, instead focused on the quality of the works.
Minimalism is related to Conceptual Art, Pop Art and Land Art.
2 Key Artists
Robert Morris
Key information

Robert Morris born February 9, 1931 in Kansas City, Missouri is an American sculptor,
conceptual artist and writer. He is regarded as one of the most prominent theorists of
Minimalism along with Donald Judd but he has also made important contributions to the
development of Performance Art, Minimalism, Land Art, the Process Art movement and
Installation Art. Morris lives and works in New York. In 2013 as part of the October Files.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/robert-morris-1669

Robert Morris was one of the central figures of Minimalism. Through both his own sculptures of
the 1960s and theoretical writings, Morris set forth a vision of art pared down to simple geometric
shapes stripped of metaphorical associations, and focused on the artwork's interaction with the
viewer. Through both his artwork and his critical writings, Morris explored new notions of chance,
temporality, and ephemerality.

http://www.theartstory.org/artist-morris-robert.htm

Key features
Regarded as one of the most prominent theorists of Minimalism.
Important contributions to the development of Performance Art, Minimalism, Land Art, the
Process Art movement and Installation Art.
Morris set forth a vision of art pared down to simple geometric shapes.
Morris explored new notions of chance, temporality, and ephemerality.

Robert Morris http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art


Untitled works/morris-untitled-t01532
1965, reconstructed 1971

Robert Morris http://www.tate.org.uk/art/ar


Untitled tworks/morris-untitled-t14224
19678, remade 2008
Untitled
This work demonstrates the principle. As the viewer walks around the four cubes, their mirrored
surfaces produce complex and shifting interactions between gallery and spectator. Morris first set
these 4 boxes up at an exhibition in 1965 at the Green Gallery.

Morris liked to arrange these into


situations where one is aware of ones
own body at the same time that one is
aware of the piece.

The space between the 4 boxes were


originally equal to the combined
volume of the 4 boxes, but he changed
it as he said he hasnt followed that rule
recently and he generally places them
with more regard to the room.

The medium Morris used mirror glass


and wood. They both worked well
together as the wood was strong and
the glass stuck well to it. The mirrored
glass is the main subject matter of this
artwork as Morris intention was to Robert Morris http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art
have the viewers Untitled works/morris-untitled-t01532
1965, reconstructed 1971
looking at themselves while observing
the artwork.

This artwork clearly links to the Minimalism movement which emerged in the early 1960s as first of, this
art piece succeeded on simplicity on both content and form. There is also no emotional meaning behind
this artwork, it instead allows the viewer to focus solely on the art piece.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/morris-untitled-t01532
Untitled
In 1967, Morris started to buy rectangular
sheet, made of industrial felt, which he then cut
into a series of straight lines, so that when
suspended they would fall form their own
weight. The reason that Morris did this is
because he wanted to question the fixed
geometric shapes of minimalist sculpture.
Morris alternative idea was to remove the
ability to determine the shape, so each time
that he would drop the felt, the arrangement
would constantly change.

The only medium used in this artwork was felt;


this aided him as Morris intention was to find
softer materials to use, instead of lead and
plywood. The reason he came to a conclusion of
felt is because it had the necessary balance of
flexibility and stiffness.

This artwork links to Minimalism as it is simple


and there are no distractions which helps the
viewer to experience the work with no
distractions. Morris used a plain white wall for
the background which gives this artwork a lot
of negative space, this helps guide the viewers
to the point of interest and so that the felt
Robert Morris http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artw
dominates over everything. Untitled orks/morris-untitled-t14224
19678, remade 2008

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/morris-untitled-t14224
Key Links
Many art pieces created by Robert Morris included similar layouts to his Untitled felt artwork. He clearly
enjoyed this style of art, mainly for the fact that once it is elevated and you drop it, the layout will always
change.

Morris style of artwork is not common, although he has been a massive influence on many different Art
Movements. One of them being Installation Art.

Installation Art came about not to long after Minimalism Art, the majority of their artwork is suspended
mid-air, preferably from a ceiling. Very similar to Robert Morris style.

You can clearly see resemblance between Installation Art


and Robert Morris artwork style. Although in
Installation Art there is a lot more detail within each art
piece, which you can clearly see, there is also many
different mediums used within just one art piece.

That is where Minimalism differs, apart from the


simplistic design. There is rarely a few mediums used,
the majority of the artworks are kept to 1-2.

Robert Morris artwork has clearly been an influence for


the Installation Art Movement, through the elevation
style, apart from the fact that the Installation Art is done
on purpose, unlike Morris artwork, which is uncertain
and changes every time.

Cornelia Parker http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-


Cold Dark Matter terms/i/installation-art
1991
Frank Stella
Key information

Began to paint abstract pictures while at Phillips Academy, Andover. Attended painting courses
at Princeton under William Seitz and Stephen Greene; influenced by Pollock and Kline, later by
Newman and Johns. Moved to New York in 1958. In reaction against Abstract Expressionism,
painted in 1958-60 a series of black pictures with the entire field covered with regular bands,
followed in 1960 by an aluminium series, his first shaped canvases. First one-man exhibition at
the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, 1960. Next made several series with more radically shaped
formats and some with multi-colours. Painted 'Irregular Polygons' 1966-7, then 'Protractor'
series with interlaced colour bands and sometimes fan-like formats. His later work has included
paintings with cut-out shapes in relief.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/frank-stella-1994

In 1959, Frank Stella gained early recognition with his series of impersonal black striped
paintings that turned the gestural brushwork and existential angst of Abstract Expressionism on
its head. Focusing on the formal elements of art-making, Stella went on to create increasingly
complicated work that followed a natural progression of dynamism tactility, and scale. Stellas
virtually relentless experimentation has made him a key figure in American modernism, helping
give ruse to such Art Movements such as Minimalism, Post-Painterly Abstraction, and Color Field
painting.

http://www.theartstory.org/artist-stella-frank.htm

Key features
Painted a series of black pictures in reaction against Abstract Expressionism.
His later work includes painting with cut-out shapes in relief.
Stella's virtually relentless experimentation has given rise to other movements such as Minimalism,
Post-Painterly Abstraction, and Color Field painting.
First one-man exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery.

Frank Stella http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artwork Frank Stella http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artwork


Hyena Stomp s/stella-hyena-stomp-t00730 [Title not known] s/stella-title-not-known-p78387
1962 1967
Hyena Stomp
The title Hyena Stomp is influenced a track by the American jazz musician Jelly Roll Morton. Stella
was thinking about syncopation while working on the painting.

Stella said, A two-dimensional surface has to allow for


both a flat and shallow space. It has to create a
convincing recessional depth and theatrical projective
illusionism.

Stella juxtaposes colour in hopes of adding an almost


architectural, robotic graphic spin on his artwork. This
gives it more structure and a definition. I think that
Stella is trying to conjure an image of wildness,
animalistic and lawlessness balanced by the rhythms
of American Jazz.

In this artwork diagonal lines divide the composition,


but at the top right corner the semi-diagonal is
displaced. This slight displacement, along with the
sequence of colours, creates an effect of a clockwise Frank Stella http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artwork
spiral leading in towards the centre. Hyena Stomp s/stella-hyena-stomp-t00730
1962

This artwork really relates to the Minimalism artwork as it has clearly stuck to the theme of a simplistic
design. Stella has only used shapes to create this, the three-dimensional effect is given from the illusion
which is created from the bright contrast between the colours, the lines coming from the corners also
helps give this effect.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/stella-hyena-stomp-t00730

http://onpaintingwithwords.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/hyena-stomp-two-dimensional-surfacehas.html
Title not known
I chose this artwork, as it is personally my favourite that Stella has done. The layout of the shapes and
lines really captures the viewers eyes. There are 2 diamond shapes within all the lines, this creates an
illusion as I think it intrigues viewers. Also the black space within the white lines has a slight scratchy
texture.

This artwork is part of Frank Stellas


Black Series II, which consists of eight
lithographs.

The medium used in the artwork is


Lithography is a printing process that
uses a flat stone or metal plate on
which the image areas are worked
using a greasy substance so that the
ink will adhere to them by, while the
non-image areas are made ink-
repellent.

Frank Stella http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artwork


[Title not known] s/stella-title-not-known-p78387
1967

The inky blackness inflects an eerie mood; this is due to the names of the prints in the series. The
names he gave are linked to Nazi slogans, Brooklyn slum neighbours, and New York nightclubs.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/stella-title-not-known-p78387

https://www.nga.gov/features/the-serial-impulse/frank-stella.htm
Key Links
Frank Stellas style of Minimalism is completely different to Robert Morris. Morris keeps his artwork
basic with hardly any colours, but Stella uses lots of colours in some of his work.

Frank Stellas work is almost all based around lines. A lot based around bright colours. An art movement
that emerged before Minimalism, that used a very similar style was Post-Painterly Abstraction.

Post-Painterly Abstraction used lots of colours and lines to create all there artworks, a massive different
difference between them is that in Frank Stellas artwork, he kept his lines straight and accurate, unlike
in Post-Painterly Abstraction; the lines were kept natural and untouched.

Morris Louis http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-


Alpha-Phi terms/p/post-painterly-abstraction
1961

You are able to clearly see that Post-Painterly Abstraction has been an influence on Frank Stellas work.
Stella has been influenced by the way the colours of the lines are always changing, but removed the
freedom of the lines, as you can see in Morris Louis lines that the brush strokes have dripped down
slightly, and that the size changes throughout the line. Stella changed it to his own style and changed the
layout, size and composition of it.