Minimalism

Art in which the work is stripped down to the most fundamental features. Least happening, maximum effect.

Because we’re done, just done, with being bombarded.

Maybe that was too much. I’ll try again.

Bombard no more.

There.

Black-Square

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich—Black Square

Minimalism is rooted in the reductive aspects of Modernism, often interpreted as a reaction against Abstract Expressionism and a bridge to Postmodern art practices.

This term can also apply to anything that is stripped bare, leaving only the essentials. Reductionist philosophy.

But it’s not boring.

Minimalist art shares a spare simplicity of means and an aversion to ornamental detail.

In other words, the artists is economic in his endeavor. He seeks to use the least amount to produce the best desired effect, without anything unnecessary or distracting. He/she seeks to purify the art by producing only the basic, essential components.

Beauty in simplicity.

Because sometimes expressionism is too much.

Less = more

piet_mondriaan2c_1921_-_composition_en_rouge2c_jaune2c_bleu_et_noir

Piet Mondriaan, 1921 – Composition en rouge, jaune, bleu et noir

Minimalism developed in post-World War II Western Art, most strongly with American visual arts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was closely associated with the New York School.

Robert Morris, theorist and artist, defined a conceptual framework and formal elements for himself that embraced the practices of contemporaries. Like Gestalt, he said that the “parts of the artwork bound together in such a way that they created a maximum resistance to perceptual separation.”

What you see = what you get

“Art excludes the unnecessary.”

Minimalism flows into music also, in styles of constant harmony. One of the most popular of these is Philip Glass. Repeated bars, the stasis of long drones, music like the steady pulse of a heartbeat, sounds that gradually unsync.


Music that is hypnotic.

There is a joke out there that goes like this:
Knock knock. Who’s there?
Knock knock. Who’s there?
Knock knock. Who’s there?
Knock knock. Who’s there?
Knock knock. Who’s there?
Philip Glass

Minimalism is like joyriding on “those Great Prairies of non-event.” 

-composer John Adams

Minimalism begs us to take the risk of purging all metaphor and self-expression. Equal Parts. Neutral Surfaces.

newman-who27s_afraid_of_red2c_yellow_and_blue

Barnett Newman—Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, Blue

“The eye is a menace to clear sight. The laying bare of oneself is obscene. Art begins with the getting rid of nature.”

-Ad Reinhardt

In literature, Minimalism means an economy of words, bare and plain, with meaning beneath the surface. Focus on surface description, little to no adverbs. Allow context to dictate meaning. Let the reader “choose sides” based on hints rather than directions. Characters are often unexceptional (pool supply salespeople, for example).

Writers like Raymond Carver, William Carlos Williams, Samuel Beckett, Ernest Hemingway, Bret Easton Ellis, Tobias Wolff, Sandra Cisneros, Amy Hempel, Chuck Palahniuk, Mary Robinson, Frederick Barthelme, Grace Paley, Bobbie Ann Mason, Richard Ford, Alicia Erian, Ezra Pound, Robert Creeley, Robert Crenier, Aram Saroyan.

As William Carlos Williams writes, “so much depends upon” so little. Like chickens. Or a wagon. Or a drop of rain.

Minimalism for me has always had a zen meditation aspect to it. There is not much to do with it. There is not much I am being asked to do with it. But let it be.

Faced with modernity,  with the buzz of notifications, it’s nice to close our eyes to everything and let the imprint only cover our eyes.

This is part of why I designed my blog the way I have. And perhaps even in that I might fall short in some ways. It is not the only influence. Perhaps this post itself was not minimal enough.

I could keep going.

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