POSTMINIMALISM

Dates: 1968-2000

Origin: United States

Key Artists: Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt

Coined by the art historian and critic Robert Pincus-Witten, Post-Minimalism refers to a general reaction by artists in America beginning in the late 1960s against Minimalism and its insistence on closed, geometric forms. These dissenting artists eschewed the impersonal object for more open forms. Rather than adhere to pure formalism, Post-Minimalist artists often made explicit the psychical and physical processes involved in the actualization of art and often reflected personal and social concerns in their works. In his 1987 book Postminimalism to Maximalism: American Art, 1966–1986, Pincus-Witten describes its progression as threefold: pictorial/sculptural, epistemological, and ontological (e.g., conceptual theater/body art). U.S.; late 1960s. The first, developing circa 1968, emphasized the manufacturing of art and the use of unconventional materials, frequently manifesting a newfound consideration of themes and media previously deemed too feminine, or “soft,” according to the Minimalist canon, as can be seen in Eva Hesse’s rope and latex pieces and Barry Le Va’s scatter installations. The second, beginning circa 1970, reassessed the applicability of theoretical constructs to art production, as evidenced in Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings, which exist as descriptions until they are realized by a second party. The third, beginning around 1968, involved the physical presentation of concepts and intentions via the artist s body, which in effect became the medium, as in the performances of Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman. Artists grouped under this category are often also associated with Land art, Performance, Process art, and other forms of expression that resist the authority of the singular art object.

“Post-minimalism.” Guggenheim.org. Guggenheim.org. 12 March 2010. <www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/show-full/movement/?search=Post-Minimalism>

Eva Hesse

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