What Is Minimalism?

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Minimalism was an avant-garde art movement that peaked in the United States in the 1960s with Frank Stella's colorful stripes and shapes. See how minimalist artists reduced art down to its essential form with information from an art historian, critic and curator in this free video on art.

Part of the Video Series: Modern Art History
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Hello, I'm Professor Betty Brown, and the topic is minimalism. Minimalism is an avant-garde movement that peaked in the United States in the 1960s. It was dominated by sculptors and painters who sought to reduce art down to the essential form of art. Perhaps the best known minimalist painter is Frank Stella, who liked to say, "What you see is what you see." He created using stripes -- sometimes of the same color, sometimes of varied color -- totally self-referring icons. Paintings of stripes that did not have stories or feelings, that were just objects that he created for minimal...using minimal means. Minimalists were sculptors who created, like Donald Judd, series of cubes out of metal or wood that were repeated again and again across a gallery floor. You might see seven Donald Judd metallic cubes down a gallery wall or five Donald Judd plywood boxes across a gallery floor. So these significant forms were experienced physically by the viewer and were embodying a reduced, reduced, reduced statement by the artist, "What is the very minimal that you have to put to make it comprise an artwork?"

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