MOCA: ReFocus Minimalism and Conceptual Art of the 70s

August 4, 2012 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

If ever there was an art form that captured the imagination of the Americans, and worked its way into everyday conversation it has been "Minimalism". Check out the Museum of Contemporary Art's take after the jump!

As previously explored in the 1960s exhibition, Minimalism developed on the threshold between the 1960s and the 1970s. Minimalism sought to distill the essence of a subject by eliminating all its non-essential features and concepts. In general, Minimalism focused on primary structures—geometric, often cubic forms—and explored the equality of their parts, repetition, neutral surfaces and industrial materials. The Minimalists’ emphasis on fundamental principles and essential forms resulted in the creation of largely monochromatic works that had a diagrammatic quality. Frequently, the works explored combinations of forms in space, set against neutral backgrounds in a manner reminiscent of scientific precision and studied objectivity.
Tending to exclude the pictorial, illusionistic and fictional in favor of the literal, the Minimalists ultimately precipitated a move away from painting to exploring sculptural concerns. Despite the fact that many of them are represented here through two-dimensional works, many of the Minimalist artists were also sculptors.

Lawrence Weiner (American, b. 1942)
With a Relation to the Various Manners of Placement and/or Location, 1976,
Gift of Norman E. Fisher Collection. MOCA Jacksonville Permanent Collection.
An outgrowth of Minimalism, Conceptual Art is based on the premise that art may exist solely as an idea rather than a tangible, physical object. More than its physical identity, it intends to convey a concept to the viewer, rejecting the importance of the creator and highlighting the realm of ideas, instead. Works are strongly based on text, which was used as much as, if not more often, than imagery. Conceptual art also typically incorporates photographs, instructions, maps, and videos.

From the curatorial notes of Ben Thomson,
MOCA Jacksonville curator.