Skip to main content


Seventeenth Copper Cardinal, 1977, by Carl Andre

In the early 1960s Minimalism emerged in the United States, partly as a response to Abstract Expressionism. Minimalist artists embraced the geometric forms and essential properties of industrial materials, producing work intended to be experienced in relation to the presence of the viewer in space. While this mode of art is traditionally aligned with its “cool” characteristics—including rigidity and stillness, heavy materials, repetition, and monumental scale—Minimalism manifested in multiple approaches across the US and the world and moved between media and disciplines.

While hard-edged sculptures typified Minimalism in New York, artists in California made minimalist-related work as part of the Light and Space movement. Minimalism can be found in music, dance and works on paper that trace interventions on the body, landscape, and language. Seen as regular and repetitive, artists created works that shifted away from subjective interpretation and personalized gesture and towards a primordial bodily connection between the viewer and the work.