These are key concepts for Minimalist development with form, color, shapes, etc.
“Emphasize…” – Long description saying that the artists preferred factory produced imagery than the styles of fine art.Reaction to the times of industrial growth, as well as leading to the design of functional objects for modern Communist society.
Powered by the spirit of innovation of the time.
LeWitt called sculptures and 3D creations, “structures”
Wadsworth Atheneum is the oldest public art museum in the USAReceived a BFA from Syracuse University in 1949Old Master is a term for a European painter pre 1800Worked as the night receptionist and clerk at the Museum of Modern Art, where he met and befriend fellow artists Dan Flavin and Frank Stella.After moving to Italy, his style took a radical shift, by using more colors and free forms.
LeWitt’s first shift from solid objects to the skeletal framework began in 1964 works and continued with this piece, Five Modular Structures.In this series of white wooden skeletal structures, LeWitt used permutations, or serial modifications of five cubic units, to develop a sequence of related works.Each of the units has exactly the same dimensions, yet the shape and structure of each sculpture varies with different levels and arrangements of the five connected cubes forming distinct configurations.Experimentation with the cube was a large part of LeWitt’s works.(Transition)Here is another example of how LeWitt created cubes using smaller modular cubes, to project a structure that would form a 3 dimensional grid.
A structure with horizontal and vertical lines in the same plane
Stella is one of the most well-regarded postwar American painters still working todayPost-Painterly Abstraction was a movement derived from abstract expressionism that favored openness or clarity, as opposed to the dense paintings of the previous style.From early visits, the New York art galleries influenced his artistic developmentDrawn to the “flatter” surfaces of Barnett Newman’s works and the “target” paintings of Jasper Johns
It is from these influences and a move to New York in 1958, that Stella would react against the expressive use of paint by the abstract expressionistsHis draw to Newman’s “flatter” surfaces, and the “target” paintings of Jasper Johns influenced him to emphasized the picture-as-object (Key component of Minimalism). He created abstract paintings that would bear no pictorial illusions or psychological or metaphysical referencesMany of the works are created by simply using the path of the brush stroke, and very often produced with common house paint.The Black Paintings were a series of paintings in which bands of black paint were separated by thin pinstripes of unpainted canvas.Began using aluminum and cooper paint, in 1960, which are similar to his black paintings. However, they use more colors and are painted on shaped canvases, often in an L, N, U, or T shape.These series captured the styles:The Irregular Polygon series featured artworks on shaped canvases that were often cut in L, N, U or T shapesStella began to use a wider range of colors, typically arranged in straight or curved lines. This imagery was show best in hisProtractor Series of paintings, in which arcs, sometimes overlapping, within square borders are arranged side-by-side to produce full and half circles painted in rings of concentric color. These paintings are named after circular cities he had visited while in the Middle East earlier in the 1960s.
Part of his Black Painting seriesStella began using the house painter’s commercial enamels and brushes in the Black Series.Each black stripe is separated by a thin line of unpainted canvas.The all-over symmetry of the works helps avoid illusionism and pictorial depth. The rectangle shape of the canvas determines the placement of each hand-painted stripe.The central cruciform lines symmetrically bisect the canvas into quadrants, and each interior stripe reiterates the right angles of the cross.
Named after a city he visited in the Middle EastPart of the protractor series
Both geometric form with shapes, lines, etc.Black Series single color and strong symmetry.Irregular Polygon more colors, shaped canvases, non-symmetry
Did incorporate the shaped canvas, and the color field.
MinimalismEarly 1960s-Late 1960s
Development Abstract Expressionism dominant in the „50s oExperimental artists separated New York from Paris oMade New York predominant Artists began deviating from the pure movement oUsed objects not always associated with art oHad meaning but stronger emphasis on the medium
InfluencesBauhaus Movement (German)De Stijl Movement (Dutch)Constructivist Movement (Russian)Influential Artists
Bauhaus (1919-1933) German school that combined crafts and fine art Aimed to unite creativity and manufacturing for everyday life Stressed intellectual and theoretical pursuits Linked to an emphasis on practical skills, crafts and techniques of the medieval guild system oGoal of problem solving for a modern industrial society Crafts placed on same level as fine art
De Stijl (1917-1931) Sought to express a new utopian ideal of spiritual harmony and order Advocated pure abstraction and universality by a reduction to the essentials of form and color Simplified compositions to vertical and horizontal directions Used only primary colors, with black and white Incorporated geometric shapes of squares, rectangles, lines Piet Mondrian key contributor
Russian Constructivism Influenced Bauhaus and De Stijl Influenced by Cubism, Suprematism, and Futurism Emphasized modular fabrication and industrial materials over the craft technique Remove traditional artistic concerns and focus with composition, to replace with „construction‟ oCarry out a fundamental analysis of the materials and forms of art, leading to the design of functional objects for modern Communist society
Significant Others Marcel Duchamp - Readymades showed that sculpture might use a variety of pre-fabricated materials Barnett Newman – Key in the development of the color field Ad Reinhardt – Use of geometric shapes and solid colors Josef Albers - Combine solid color, geometric form and hard-edge
Notable Exhibits Primary Structures: Younger American and British Sculpture o New York’s Jewish Museum from April 27 – June 12, 1966 o Organized by the Curator of Painting and Sculpture, Kynaston McShine Systematic Painting o New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1966 o Organized by curator Lawrence Alloway Green Gallery o New York, 1964 o Donald Judd sculptures and the first light works of Dan Flavin Leo Castelli Gallery and Pace Gallery
The New America Art Minimalist Art was developed through these exhibits Exhibits showcased Geometric Abstractionism with unique characteristics: oShaped canvases oColor fields oHard-edge painting
CharacteristicsGeometric form, hard-edge painting, solid colors, industrial objectsAvoiding shared traits in all previous movementsEmphasis on the mediumRemoved all self-expressionRemoved the appearance of fine art
Key Artists Carl Andre Robert Morris Sol LeWitt Frank Stella Dan Flavin Donald Judd
Carl Andre Sculptures made from industrial metals, stones, wood, and brick Emphasis on loose placement and sorting of materials – no fixatives Often geometric or simple repetitive arrangements Explores properties of matter “Sculpture as place”
Carl AndreAluminum-Zinc Dipole E/W 1989 “What my sculpture has in common with science andtechnology is an enormous interest in the features of materials”
Robert Morris Highly involved with dance and theater in early years Started with many kinds of mediums, but primarily worked with plywood at his heights Theoretician of Minimalist art Emphasis on scale, form, and perception of work
Sol LeWitt Founding member of Minimalism and Conceptual art Early works were basic geometric forms with only red, yellow, blue, black colors Later featured more colors and free form Works include: oWall drawings, paintings, and other 2D creations oStructures of geometric forms, towers, pyramids and progressions
Sol LeWitt – Biography Born 1928 in Hartford, Connecticut Family of Jewish immigrants from Russia Studied at Wadsworth Atheneum, Syracuse University and School of Visual Arts Practiced Old Master painting in Europe Worked as a graphic designer and spent time at Seventeen Hired at the Museum of Modern Art Taught at the University of New York and School of Visual Arts Moved to Spoleto, Italy, in 1980
Sol LeWitt Five Modular Structures“In my case, I used theelements of these simpleforms - square, cube, line andcolor - to produce logicalsystems. Most of thesesystems were finite; that is,they were complete using allpossible variations. This keptthem simple.”
Sol LeWitt Isometric Projection #13“Every generationrenews itself in its ownway; theres always areaction againstwhatever is standard.”
Sol LeWitt Tower“The artist is seen likea producer ofcommodities, like afactory that turns ourrefrigerators.”
Frank Stella - The Man Contributor for Minimalism and Post-Painterly Abstraction Born 1936 in Malden, Massachusetts Graduated from Princeton University Influenced by Abstract Expressionism of Jackson Pollock and Frank Kline Drawn to Newman‟s “flatter” surfaces and Jasper Johns “target” paintings
Frank Stella – The Artist Moved to New York and reacted against expression in art Emphasized the picture-as-object Pre 1960: Used these ideas in the Black Paintings oBasic form and color Post 1960: Style shifted in Irregular Polygon series and Protractor Series oUsing shaped canvases and more colors
Frank Stella Die Fahne Hoch!“What you see iswhat you see”
Frank Stella Harran II“The aim of art is tocreate space - spacethat is notcompromised bydecoration orillustration, spacewithin which thesubjects of paintingcan live”
Before and After Black Series Irregular Polygon
Frank Stella“[A painting] is aflat surface withpaint on it -nothing more”
Dan Flavin•Started out primarily as an Abstract Expressionist•Quickly developed an appreciation for light•Used changes in tone rather than lines in earlyworks•First overt reference to light in an Apollinaire-esque poem•Early works used light, but had meaning behindthemSailDan Flavin
the diagonal of May25, 1963 (toConstantin Brancusi)-1963
Characteristics of the MediumReflected light depends on the surfaceAngle affects diffusion in a roomColor can change (red and deep yellow darker)Completely store-boughtThe color is different from pigmentsEach light is one colorThe pieces all have a limited lifetime