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>Skyspace, The Way of Color</em>
James Turrell, Skyspace, 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