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schools of contemporary art and music, with their origins in the 1960s, that have emphasized simplicity and objectivity.

Minimalism in the Visual Arts

Reacting against the formal excesses and raw emotionalism of abstract expressionismabstract expressionism,
movement of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the mid-1940s and attained singular prominence in American art in the following decade; also called action painting and the New York school.
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, the practitioners of minimal art (also sometimes called ABC art) strove to focus attention on the object as an object, reducing its historical and expressive content to the bare minimum. Many minimalist artists were sculptors concerned with reducing form to its utmost simplicity. They used flat surface colors, factory finishes, and industrial materials. The use of serial repetitions contributed to their goal. Artists such as Carl AndreAndre, Carl
, 1935–, American sculptor, b. Quincy, Mass. A student of Patrick Morgan and associate of Frank Stella, Andre produces sculptures of elemental form and abstract monumentality.
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, Sol LeWittLeWitt, Sol
, 1928–2007, American artist, b. Hartford, Conn. LeWitt, who came into prominence in the 1960s, termed his work conceptual art, emphasizing that the idea or concept that animates each work is its most important aspect.
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, Robert MorrisMorris, Robert,
1931–, American artist, b. Kansas City, Mo. He settled in New York City in 1960 and was allied in his early work with the simple, impersonal forms of minimalism, e.g., an untitled 1965 work consisting of four blocks of gray fiberglass.
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, Richard SerraSerra, Richard,
1939–, American sculptor, b. San Francisco; grad. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (B.A., 1961), Yale (B.F.A., M.F.A., 1974). Many of his early works (1960s) are cast in rubber or lead.
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, Donald JuddJudd, Donald Clarence,
1928–94, American artist, b. Excelsior Springs, Mo. His sculpture, allied with the minimalist school of the late 1960s (see minimalism; modern art), has the appearance of industrial fabrication.
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, and Dan FlavinFlavin, Dan
, 1933–96, American sculptor, b. New York City. In the early 1960s, Flavin experimented with fluorescent lights, bending them into complex, angular shapes.
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 were associated with the movement. The exhibition "Primary Structures," held in New York in 1966, spotlighted works of this school. Minimalism gave rise to process art, land artland art
or earthworks,
art form developed in the late 1960s and early 70s by Robert Smithson, Robert Morris, Michael Heizer, and others, in which the artist employs the elements of nature in situ or rearranges the landscape with earthmoving equipment.
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, performance artperformance art,
multimedia art form originating in the 1970s in which performance is the dominant mode of expression. Perfomance art may incorporate such elements as instrumental or electronic music, song, dance, television, film, sculpture, spoken dialogue, and storytelling.
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, conceptual artconceptual art,
art movement that began in the 1960s and stresses the artist's concept rather than the art object itself. Growing out of minimalism, conceptual art turned the artist's thoughts and ideas themselves into the primary artistic medium, appealing to the spectator's
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, and installation art.

Minimalism in Music

In music, the minimalist movement was, like minimal art, a reaction against a then-current form, with composers rejecting many of the dry intellectual complexities and the emotional sterility of serial musicserial music,
the body of compositions whose fundamental syntactical reference is a particular ordering (called series or row) of the twelve pitch classes—C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B—that constitute the equal-tempered scale.
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 and other modern forms. Generally, minimalist compositions tend to emphasize simplicity in melodic line and harmonic progression, to stress repetition and rhythmic patterns, and to reduce historical or expressive reference. The use of electronic instruments is common in minimalist music, as are influences from Asia and Africa. Among prominent minimalist composers are Philip GlassGlass, Philip,
1937–, American composer, b. Baltimore. Considered one of the most innovative of contemporary composers, he was a significant figure in the development of minimalism in music. Glass attended the Univ. of Chicago, the Juilliard School of Music (M.A.
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, Steve ReichReich, Steve
(Stephen Michael Reich), 1936–, American composer, b. New York City. A well-known exponent of minimalism, he attended Cornell (B.A., 1957), the Julliard School of Music (1958–61), and Mills College (M.A.
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, Terry Riley, La Monte Young, and John AdamsAdams, John
(John Coolidge Adams), 1947–, American composer, b. Worcester, Mass. A clarinetist, he studied composition at Harvard (B.A. 1969, M.A. 1971). Often regarded as the most outstanding, technically adept, and influential composer of his generation, Adams has
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a type of music based on simple elements and avoiding elaboration or embellishment
References in periodicals archive ?
Of course, ABC Arts must get the balance right between the funny bone and brain food, between comfort zone and shock of the new.