Postminimalism

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Postminimalism is an art term coined (as post-minimalism) by Robert Pincus-Witten in 1971 [1] used in various artistic fields for work which is influenced by, or attempts to develop and go beyond, the aesthetic of minimalism. [2] The expression is used specifically in relation to music and the visual arts, but can refer to any field using minimalism as a critical reference point. In music, "postminimalism" refers to music following minimal music.

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Visual art

In visual art, postminimalist art uses minimalism either as an aesthetic or conceptual reference point. Postminimalism is more an artistic tendency than a particular movement. Postminimalist artworks are usually everyday objects, use simple materials, and sometimes take on a "pure", formalist aesthetic. However, since postminimalism includes such a diverse and disparate group of artists, it is impossible to enumerate all the continuities and similarities between them.

The work of Eva Hesse is also postminimalist: it uses "grids" and "seriality", themes often found in minimalism, but is also usually hand-made, introducing a human element into her art, in contrast to the machine or custom-made works of minimalism. Richard Serra is a prominent post-minimalist. [3]

Music

In its general musical usage, "postminimalism" refers to works influenced by minimal music, and it is generally categorized within the meta-genre art music. Writer Kyle Gann [4] has employed the term more strictly to denote the style that flourished in the 1980s and 1990s and characterized by:

  1. a steady pulse, usually continuing throughout a work or movement;
  2. a diatonic pitch language, tonal in effect but avoiding traditional functional tonality;
  3. general evenness of dynamics, without strong climaxes or nuanced emotionalism; and
  4. unlike minimalism, an avoidance of obvious or linear formal design.

Minimalist procedures such as additive and subtractive process are common in postminimalism, though usually in disguised form, and the style has also shown a capacity for absorbing influences from world and popular music (Balinese gamelan, bluegrass, Jewish cantillation, and so on).

For a musical style derived from minimalism, see Totalism (music).

See also

Related Research Articles

Minimalism Movements in various forms of art and design

In visual arts, music, and other media, minimalism is an art movement that began in post–World War II Western art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s. Prominent artists associated with minimalism include Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre, Robert Morris, Anne Truitt, and Frank Stella. The movement is often interpreted as a reaction against abstract expressionism and modernism; it anticipated contemporary postminimal art practices, which extend or reflect on minimalism's original objectives.

Postmodern art Art movement

Postmodern art is a body of art movements that sought to contradict some aspects of modernism or some aspects that emerged or developed in its aftermath. In general, movements such as intermedia, installation art, conceptual art and multimedia, particularly involving video are described as postmodern.

Kyle Gann

Kyle Eugene Gann is an American professor of music, critic, analyst, and composer who has worked primarily in the New York City area. As a music critic for The Village Voice and other publications, he has supported progressive music, including such "downtown" movements as postminimalism and totalism.

Downtown music

Downtown music is a subdivision of American music, closely related to experimental music, which developed in downtown Manhattan in the 1960s.

Minimal music is a form of art music or other compositional practice that employs limited or minimal musical materials. Prominent features of minimalist music include repetitive patterns or pulses, steady drones, consonant harmony, and reiteration of musical phrases or smaller units. It may include features such as phase shifting, resulting in what is termed phase music, or process techniques that follow strict rules, usually described as process music. The approach is marked by a non-narrative, non-teleological, and non-representational approach, and calls attention to the activity of listening by focusing on the internal processes of the music.

In the arts, maximalism, a reaction against minimalism, is an aesthetic of excess. The philosophy can be summarized as "more is more", contrasting with the minimalist motto "less is more".

Totalism is a style of art music that arose in the 1980s and 1990s as a response to minimalism. It paralleled postminimalism but involved a younger generation of creators, born in the 1950s. This term, invented by writer and composer Kyle Gann, has not been adopted by contemporary musicology and generally still refers only to Gann’s use of it in his writings.

Eva Hesse German-born American sculptor and textile artist (1936-1970)

Eva Hesse was a German-born American sculptor known for her pioneering work in materials such as latex, fiberglass, and plastics. She is one of the artists who ushered in the postminimal art movement in the 1960s.

Systems music is music with sound continua which evolve gradually, often over very long periods of time. Historically, the American minimalists Steve Reich, La Monte Young and Philip Glass are considered the principal proponents of this compositional approach. Works by this group of composers are often characterized by features such as stasis or repetitiveness.

Lyrical abstraction

Lyrical abstraction is either of two related but distinct trends in Post-war Modernist painting:

In the visual arts, late modernism encompasses the overall production of most recent art made between the aftermath of World War II and the early years of the 21st century. The terminology often points to similarities between late modernism and post-modernism although there are differences. The predominant term for art produced since the 1950s is contemporary art. Not all art labelled as contemporary art is modernist or post-modern, and the broader term encompasses both artists who continue to work in modern and late modernist traditions, as well as artists who reject modernism for post-modernism or other reasons. Arthur Danto argues explicitly in After the End of Art that contemporaneity was the broader term, and that postmodern objects represent a subsector of the contemporary movement which replaced modernity and modernism, while other notable critics: Hilton Kramer, Robert C. Morgan, Kirk Varnedoe, Jean-François Lyotard and others have argued that postmodern objects are at best relative to modernist works.

Systems art

Systems art is art influenced by cybernetics, and systems theory, that reflects on natural systems, social systems and social signs of the art world itself.

John McGuire is an American composer, pianist, organist, and music editor.

Minimalism (visual arts) Visual arts movement

Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. As a specific movement in the arts it is identified with developments in post–World War II Western Art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s. Prominent artists associated with this movement include Ad Reinhardt, Nassos Daphnis, Tony Smith, Donald Judd, John McCracken, Agnes Martin, Dan Flavin, Robert Morris, Larry Bell, Anne Truitt, Yves Klein and Frank Stella. Artists themselves have sometimes reacted against the label due to the negative implication of the work being simplistic. Minimalism is often interpreted as a reaction to abstract expressionism and a bridge to postminimal art practices.

Phase music

Phase music is a form of music that uses phasing as a primary compositional process. It is an approach to musical composition that is often associated with minimal music, as it shares similar characteristics, but some commentators prefer to treat phase music as a separate category. Phasing is a compositional technique in which the same part is played on two musical instruments, in steady but not identical tempi. Thus, the two instruments gradually shift out of unison, creating first a slight echo as one instrument plays a little behind the other, then a doubling effect with each note heard twice, then a complex ringing effect, and eventually coming back through doubling and echo into unison. Phasing is the rhythmic equivalent of cycling through the phase of two waveforms as in phasing. Note that the tempi of the two instruments are almost identical, so that both parts are perceived as being in the same tempo: the changes only separate the parts gradually. In some cases, especially live performance where gradual separation is extremely difficult, phasing is accomplished by periodically inserting an extra note into the phrase of one of the two players playing the same repeated phrase, thus shifting the phase by a single beat at a time, rather than gradually.

Modern sculpture

Modern sculpture is generally considered to have begun with the work of Auguste Rodin, who is seen as the progenitor of modern sculpture. While Rodin did not set out to rebel against the past, he created a new way of building his works. He "dissolved the hard outline of contemporary Neo-Greek academicism, and thereby created a vital synthesis of opacity and transparency, volume and void". Along with a few other artists in the late 19th century who experimented with new artistic visions in sculpture like Edgar Degas and Paul Gauguin, Rodin invented a radical new approach in the creation of sculpture. Modern sculpture, along with all modern art, "arose as part of Western society's attempt to come to terms with the urban, industrial and secular society that emerged during the nineteenth century".

Robert Pincus-Witten was an American art critic, curator and art historian.

The Time Curve Preludes is a minimalist composition for piano solo by William Duckworth written between 1977 and 1978. This piece is credited as the first postminimal piece of music, and is his most frequently heard work. The Time Curve Preludes were composed between 1977 and 1978 on a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. They were premiered at Wesleyan University in 1979 by pianist Neely Bruce. Duckworth used elements of Minimalism, including repetition and accessible harmonies, yet also embraced more quickly changing structures; wide-ranging, complex melodies; and colorful dissonances.

Minimalist photography

Minimalist photography is a form of photography that is distinguished by extreme, austere simplicity. It emphasizes spareness and focuses solely on the smallest number of objects in the composition process. Minimalist photographers usually focus solely on one particular subject, rather than an abundance of color, patterns and information.

References

  1. Chilvers, Ian and Glaves-Smith, John, A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art, second edition (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 569. ISBN   0-19-923966-5.
  2. Pincus-Witten, Robert (November 1971). "Eva Hesse: Post-Minimalism into Sublime". www.artforum.com. Retrieved 2021-05-29.
  3. Smith, Roberta (April 14, 2011). "Richard Serra's Drawings at Metropolitan Museum of Art", NYTimes.com. Accessed 8 June 2012.
  4. Kyle Gann. 2001. "Minimal Music, Maximal Impact: Minimalism's Immediate Legacy: Postminimalism". New Music Box: The Web Magazine from the American Music Center (November 1) (Accessed 4 February 2012).