What is minimalism in art?

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Minimalist painters, a fairly recent post-WWII phenomenon, are not merely untalented painters who can’t draw. They are seeking visual ways to describe the underlying simplicity of the visual stimuli around us. In a cluttered world, they are returning to the simplicity that attunes the viewer with the basics of the visible world, not the patterns but the substructure. Linguists have termed it “effing the ineffable”; astrophysicists declare “Everything is made out of nothing, but sometimes the nothingness shows through.” Musicians such as Philip Glass and John Cage treat minimalism as “the sound around our attempts to make sound.” Such minimalists as Agnes Martin and (in his later work) Al Newbill are not philosophers or sociologists; they are certainly not photographers or reproducers of “reality,” but rather “mathematicians” or “explorers,” looking for a language of visual equations, or a lost land of “horizons.” Their paintings and drawings are their notes of the record of their journey – not easily interpreted by the viewer because not created for a viewer; rather they “try to rid their works of any extra-visual association. Using hard edges, they give the viewer…an immediate, purely visual response.”

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arrellbelle | Student, College Sophomore | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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I've taken art, in school, for 9 years now and when we were learning about minimalism, my art teachers told me that they were a simple form of art, or in other words, a type of abstract art where the elements focus entirely upon the subject matter itself. There were no emotional attachment to the artworks and it was just looking at the visual elements.