Key Dates: 1962-
Minimal Art emerged as a movement in the 1950s and continued through the Sixties and Seventies. It is a term used to describe paintings and sculpture that thrive on simplicity in both content and form, and seek to remove any sign of personal expressivity. The aim of Minimalism is to allow the viewer to experience the work more intensely without the distractions of composition, theme and so on.
There are examples of the Minimalist theory being exercised as early as the 18th century when Goethe constructed an Altar of Good Fortune made simply of a stone sphere and cube. But the 20th century sees the movement come into its own. From the 1920s artists such as Malevich and Duchamp produced works in the Minimalist vein but the movement is known chiefly by its American exponents such as Dan Flavin, Carl Andre, Ellsworth Kelly and Donald Judd who reacted against Abstract Expressionism in their stark canvases, sculptures and installations.
Minimal Art is related to a number of other movements such as Conceptual Art in the way the finished work exists merely to convey a theory, Pop Art in their shared fascination with the impersonal and Land Art in the construction of simple shapes. Minimal Art proved highly successful and has been enormously influential on the development of art in the 20th century.