Serial Forms and Repetition

Explore the importance of seriality and repetition in Minimalist art.

The Materials of Minimalism

Explore how Minimalists embraced the techniques and materials of manufacturing and industry.

Constructing Space

Explore how Minimalist artists engaged with their physical surroundings.

The Minimalists often stayed away from traditional art materials, and instead embraced the techniques of manufacturing, commercial materials, and industrial fabrication in order to eliminate the evidence of the artist’s hand normally found in, for example, brushstrokes. Minimalists rejected the idea that art should reflect the personal ideas and expression of the artist. For instance, color was not used to express feeling or mood, but simply to delineate space. For the Minimalist artist, house paint and fiberglass were more valuable materials than fine oil paints and clay.

To explore more, click on each artwork thumbnail, then click again on the larger image that appears in the box above.

A paint in which pigment is suspended in oil, which dries on exposure to air.

The method with which an artist, writer, performer, athlete, or other producer employs technical skills or materials to achieve a finished product or endeavor.

A combination of pigment, binder, and solvent (noun); the act of producing a picture using paint (verb, gerund).

A state of mind or emotion, a pervading impression.

An artistic movement of the 1960s in which artists produced pared-down three-dimensional objects devoid of representational content. Their new vocabulary of simplified, geometric forms made from humble industrial materials challenged traditional notions of craftsmanship, the illusion of spatial depth in painting, and the idea that a work of art must be one of a kind.

A facial aspect indicating an emotion; also, the means by which an artist communicates ideas and emotions.

The perceived hue of an object, produced by the manner in which it reflects or emits light into the eye. Also, a substance, such as a dye, pigment, or paint, that imparts a hue.

Questions & Activities

  1. Debating Donald Judd

    Donald Judd said, “If someone says his work is art, it’s art.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

    Choose one side of this argument and defend this point of view in the form of a one-page essay.

  2. Comparing Artists’ Approaches

    If one of Dan Flavin’s fluorescent light bulbs broke, it could be replaced with another store-bought bulb. Donald Judd had his objects manufactured by skilled craftspeople. Frank Stella brushes the paint on his own paintings, yet shares some similarities with Judd and Flavin.

    How are their approaches similar? How are they different? Organize your thoughts in a list.

  3. Stella Says…

    Frank Stella said, “My painting is based on the fact that only what can be seen there is there…. What you see is what you see.” How does this statement relate to the title Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II? Summarize your interpretation in a one-page essay.

  4. Taking Measure (of Donald Judd)

    Donald Judd’s Untitled (Stack) includes 12 identical units. Each square unit is 40 inches wide, 31 inches deep, and nine inches tall. According to the artist’s specifications, the work must be installed so the vertical space between each unit is also nine inches.

    Measure out the width and depth of each unit using a tape measure. Then measure out the height of four stacked units with proper spacing between them. Transfer these measurements onto a large sheet of paper or cardboard. Are you surprised by the full scale of these works? Are they larger or smaller than you expected them to be?