New York

Robert Ryman

The Pace Gallery | 508 W 25th Street

Marked by an ascetic denial of such traditional artistic devices as facture and narrative, Minimalist sculpture and painting emphasized the absolute qualities of materials, rather than what the artist did with them. Frequently focusing on the interplay of random or found arrangements with the sensuous qualities of industrial materials, Minimalism reacted to the self-conscious emotionalism of second-generation Abstract Expressionism, positing the artist as a sort of Zen factory worker.

Quieter than Pop art, Minimalism, rather than reveling in the circus of consumerism, ignored the ambient noise—or at least seemed to. In retrospect this is perhaps the movement’s salient characteristic. Holding out for the value of perception in an age of received opinion, Minimalism offered a renewed way to treat art as a serious endeavor.

No one artist embodied the whole constellation of Minimalist characteristics.

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