Postwar American art

Minimalism and Earthworks

Emerging in reaction to Abstract Expressionism, the Minimalists looked to remove the artist's hand from artmaking, and earthworks did away with traditional media altogether.

c. 1960 - present

Beginner's guide

Although many works of art can be described as “minimal,” the name Minimalism refers specifically to a kind of reductive abstract art that emerged during the early 1960s.

videos + essays

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The Case for Land Art
The Case for Land Art

What kind of an art can thrive with such a formidable co-star as Earth?

The Case for Minimalism
The Case for Minimalism

There’s no Marie Kondo tidying up here, so what is Minimalism, really?

Walter De Maria, <em>The Lightning Field</em>
Walter De Maria, The Lightning Field

400 stainless steel poles in the high desert of New Mexico are the object, but the subject is the sublime.

Robert Smithson, <em>Spiral Jetty</em>
Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty

Drought and rain govern when this work of art in Utah’s Great Salt Lake can be seen.

James Turrell, <em>Skyscape, the way of color</em>
James Turrell, Skyscape, the way of color

A viewing station for sunrise and sunset, Turrell’s work manipulates light, time, and perception.


Serious Art or a jungle gym? Morris shows us that art can be experienced bodily, and Minimalism can be fun.

Richard Serra, <em>Band</em>
Richard Serra, Band

Serra’s sculpture creates new spaces within the architecture of the room.

Richard Serra, <em>Torqued Ellipse IV</em>
Richard Serra, Torqued Ellipse IV

Inspired by a misinterpretation of a Renaissance church in Rome, this sculpture pushed the limits of technology.

Richard Serra, <em>Intersection II</em>
Richard Serra, Intersection II

Serra guides you through his sculpture in the garden of MOMA.

Donald Judd, <em>Untitled</em>
Donald Judd, Untitled

Judd’s boxes were made by factory workers, not by the artist—but he provided instructions.

Robert Morris, <em>(Untitled) L-Beams</em>
Robert Morris, (Untitled) L-Beams

Are these objects the same size? Morris challenges our perception.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, <em>The Gates</em>
Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The Gates

26 years in the making, this intervention in Central Park was controversial—even though it only lasted two weeks.

Selected Contributors | Minimalism and Earthworks