A Modern Experience
The Guggenheim in Manhattan recently had an Exhibition entitled “Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated)” Art from 1951 to the Present. Not your typical exhibition where you study lavish master works. The topic was Minimalism and, at first, I was somewhat timid; this being my virgin modernist exhibition. I began reading the blocks of text describing each piece while the people next too me stared hopelessly into blank canvases. I was fascinated.
…unique economy of formal means to explore the aesthetic potential of pure shape, structure, and surface. To annul all sense of illusion, artist associated with minimalism often relied on mathematical systems; manifested in serial repetition or the use of a grid; as a guiding compositional grid.
I briefly studied the Modernist movement in college, never giving it due attention. Many criticize this period as being meaningless or a waste of talent. I’ve found it to be much more. The amount of thought and planning behind modern work is astonishing, inspiration stemming from obscure sources.
Mangold would use the negative space of nature to create geometric forms.
Their purpose wasn’t to satisfy viewers, it was the deconstruction of Art. Taking all that was familiar to art and dismantling it. Exposing its underpinnings. This was something that had not been done publicly. Similar too opening the back of a watch to reveal the complexity and simplicity behind the movement of three spinning hands on a circular form.
Minimalism’s immediate impact upon development of contemporary art explored a range of concerns including process, the dematerialization of the object, the performative nature of art, and the structural properties of light.
This deconstruction is merely a process to better understand Art. The more an Artist understands the underpinnings of their creations, the better they can serve their purpose.
The following are Minimalist Artists that are worth understanding:
- Carl Andre (http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_bio_3.html)
- Dan Flavin (http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_bio_46.html)
- Robert Mangold (http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_bio_97.html)
- Donald Judd (http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_bio_70.html)
- Brice Marden (http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_bio_101.html)
- Sol LeWitt (http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_bio_87A.html)
- Agnes Martin (http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_bio_103.html)
- Robert Morris (http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_bio_115.html)
- Robert Ryman (http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_bio_140.html)
All of the above quotes were taken from the “Singular Forms” Exhibition in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.