- /min"euh meuh liz'euhm/, n. (sometimes cap.)1. Music. a reductive style or school of modern music utilizing only simple sonorities, rhythms, and patterns, with minimal embellishment or orchestrational complexity, and characterized by protracted repetition of figurations, obsessive structural rigor, and often a pulsing, hypnotic effect.2. See minimal art.[1965-70; MINIMAL + -ISM]
* * *Twentieth-century movements in art and music characterized by extreme simplicity of form and rejection of emotional content.In the visual arts, Minimalism originated in New York City in the 1950s as a form of abstract art and became a major trend in the 1960s and '70s. The Minimalists believed that a work of art should be entirely self-referential; personal elements were stripped away to reveal the objective, purely visual elements. Leading Minimalist sculptors include Carl Andre and Donald Judd; Minimalist painters include Ellsworth Kelly and Agnes Martin. In music, Minimalism arose in the 1960s. It employs a steady pulsing beat, incessant repetition of tones and chords with only gradual changes in their components, a slow rate of harmonic change, and little or no counterpoint. Its principal antecedents are the musics of India and Southeast Asia. Its most important early practitioners include La Monte Young (b. 1935), Terry Riley (b. 1935), whose In C (1964) is perhaps its most seminal work, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and John Adams.
* * *▪ art movementchiefly American movement in the visual arts and music originating in New York City in the late 1960s and characterized by extreme simplicity of form and a literal, objective approach.Minimal art, also called ABC art, is the culmination of reductionist tendencies in modern art that first surfaced in the 1913 composition by the Russian painter Kasimir Malevich (Malevich, Kazimir) of a black square on a white ground. The primary structures of the minimalist sculptors Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Tony Smith, Anthony Caro, Sol LeWitt, John McCracken, Craig Kaufman, Robert Duran, and Robert Morris and the hard-edge painting of Jack Youngerman, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, Kenneth Noland, Al Held, and Gene Davis grew out of these artists' dissatisfaction with Action painting, a branch of American Abstract Expressionism based on intuitive, spontaneous gesture that had dominated American avant-garde art through much of the 1950s. The minimalists, who believed that Action painting was too personal and insubstantial, adopted the point of view that a work of art should not refer to anything other than itself. For that reason they attempted to rid their works of any extra-visual association. Use of the hard edge, the simple form, and the linear rather than painterly approach was intended to emphasize two-dimensionality and to allow the viewer an immediate, purely visual response. They turned for inspiration to the impassive, quiet works of Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt, exponents of the colour-field branch of Abstract Expressionist painting.Hard-edge painting is characterized by large, simplified, usually geometric forms on an overall flat surface; precise, razor-sharp contours; and broad areas of bright, unmodulated colour that have been stained into unprimed canvas. It differs from other types of geometric abstraction in that it rejects both lyrical and mathematical composition because, even in this simplified field, they are a means of personal expression for the artist. Minimal hard-edge painting is the anonymous construction of a simple object.Minimal sculpture is composed of extremely simple, monumental geometric forms made of fibreglass, plastic, sheet metal, or aluminum, either left raw or solidly painted with bright industrial colours. Like the painters, minimalist sculptors attempted to make their works totally objective, unexpressive, and non-referential.Minimal art, along with the music of (music, Western) Erik Satie and the aesthetics of John Cage, was a distinct influence on minimalist music. Reacting against the complex, intellectually sophisticated style of modern music, several composers began to compose in a simple, literal style, thereby creating an extremely simple and accessible music. La Monte Young, for example, composed a number of electronic “continuous frequency environments,” in which he generated a few pitches and then electronically sustained them, sometimes for days or weeks. Young added very little to this texture and virtually eliminated variation as a developmental technique. Like Young, Morton Feldman (Feldman, Morton) tried to eliminate variation. His works explored innovative instrumental timbres through a slowly paced succession of unrelated, soft sounds. Another group of composers—Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Cornelius Cardew, and Frederic Rzewski—was influenced by the music of India, Bali, and West Africa. They used simple harmonic and melodic patterns in their highly repetitive music.In both music and the visual arts, minimalism was an attempt to explore the essential elements of an art form. In minimalist visual arts, the personal, gestural elements were stripped away in order to reveal the objective, purely visual elements of painting and sculpture. In minimalist music, the traditional treatment of form and development was rejected in favour of explorations of timbre and rhythm—musical elements largely unfamiliar to Western listeners.
* * *
Look at other dictionaries:
Minimalism — [englisch/amerikanisch, mɪnɪməlɪsm], Spielart der New Age, die auf die in den Sechzigerjahren entstandene Minimal Music der europäisch amerikanischen Avantgarde zurückgeht, wie sie vor allem von den amerikanischen Komponisten Terry Riley (*… … Universal-Lexikon
minimalism — [min′i məl iz΄əm] n. 1. action of a minimal or conservative kind 2. a movement in art, dance, music, etc., beginning in the 1960s, in which only the simplest design, structure, forms, etc. are used, often repetitiously, and the artist s… … English World dictionary
Minimalism — This article is about the concept in the arts. For other uses, see Minimalism (disambiguation). Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is stripped down to its most… … Wikipedia
minimalism — [[t]mɪ̱nɪməlɪzəm[/t]] N UNCOUNT Minimalism is a style in which a small number of very simple things are used to create a particular effect. In her own home, she replaced austere minimalism with cosy warmth and colour … English dictionary
minimalism — A minimal theory of a term or concept rejects the idea that it is a substantial focus for theory. A minimal theory of truth, for example, holds that there is no general problem about what makes sentences or propositions true; a minimal theory of… … Philosophy dictionary
minimalism — minimalist ► NOUN 1) an advocate or practitioner of minimal art or music. 2) an advocate of moderate political reform. ► ADJECTIVE 1) relating to minimal art or music. 2) advocating moderate political reform. DERIVATIVES minimalism noun … English terms dictionary
minimalism — noun Date: 1929 1. a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity 2. minimal art … New Collegiate Dictionary
minimalism — noun a) A style of art that emphasises extreme simplicity of form. b) A style of music that emphasises extreme simplicity of rhythms and melodic forms to achieve a trancelike effect. See Also … Wiktionary
minimalism — min|i|mal|is|m [ˈmınıməlızəm] n [U] a style of art, design, music etc that uses only a very few simple ideas or patterns >minimalist adj ▪ minimalist Christmas decorations >minimalist n … Dictionary of contemporary English
minimalism — min|i|mal|ism [ mınıml,ızəm ] noun uncount a style of art that developed in the 1960s and uses a small number of simple shapes and colors a. a style of music that developed in the 1960s and uses simple repeated RHYTHMS and patterns of musical… … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English