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ARTH209: 20th Century Art

Unit 9: Minimalism, Process Art, and Arte Povera   Minimalism, Process Art, and Arte Povera all began in the 1960s and all of them used either nonartistic materials or nontraditional methods for making art. Minimalism—also known as ABC Art, Primary Structures, or Specific Objects—tended to favor simple geometric forms, unmodulated colors, and serial repetition. Unlike the earlier geometric abstraction of artists such as Piet Mondrian or Kasimir Malevich, Minimalist works seemed to be devoid of any utopian goals for art. Instead, the Minimalist works refer to industrial production or emphasize the formal qualities of the materials themselves. As the name implies, Process artists emphasized the processes used to create a work of art rather than the final object. The artist’s actions on the material—pouring, folding, tearing, welding, smearing, spraying, pasting, and so forth—are clearly visible. Often these artists, like the Minimalists, preferred to use nonart materials such as latex, rope, textiles, and ordinary metals. Arte Povera—literally “Poor Art”—favored commonplace materials in works that seem to reject the technology of modern times and instead evoke a pre-industrial aesthetic.
 
As you work through this unit, compare the artists’ use of materials, methods of production, and goals for their art. What similarities and differences can you find with earlier abstract art?

Unit 9 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take approximately 9.5 hours.

☐    Subunit 9.1: 4.5 hours

☐    Subunit 9.2: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 9.3: 2 hours

Unit9 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - describe and identify the visual elements and technical processes of Minimalism, Process Art, and Arte Povera; - demonstrate knowledge of the main contributors to the development of Minimalism, Process Art, and Arte Povera; - demonstrate knowledge of the individual artists’ contributions to the development of Minimalism, Process Art, and Arte Povera; - explain the importance of industrial materials and processes to Minimalist works of art; and - discuss the role of nontraditional materials and processes in Process Art and Arte Povera.

9.1 Minimalism   - Reading: The Art Story: “Minimalism” Link: The Art Story: “Minimalism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: First, read over this page as an introduction to Minimalism. Then, click on each of the images under “Groundbreaking Works” at the top of the page and read the accompanying text. Finally, click on “Detail View” under Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Kenneth Noland, Richard Serra, and Frank Stella on the right side of the page and read about these Minimalist artists. For Carl Andre, under “Carl Andre Biography,” be sure to click on “More” to read this text. For each of the artists, click on the images under the “Analysis of Art Works” section at the top of the artist’s page.
 
Reading this material should take approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: Khan’s Academy’s SmartHistory: Dr Beth Harris and Dr. Shana Gallagher-Lindsay’s “Donald Judd’s Untitled” Link: Khan’s Academy’s SmartHistory: Dr Beth Harris and Dr. Shana Gallagher-Lindsay’s “Donald Judd’s Untitled (Flash)
     
    Instructions: Read the essay and then click play to watch a video about Donald Judd’s Untitled. How does Judd’s work evoke the idea of industrial production?
     
    Reading the essay and watching the video should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareALike 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to Khan Academy. 

  • Reading: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: “Kenneth Noland” Link: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: “Kenneth Noland” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this page, and then click on the images at the top for a larger view of some of Noland’s works.
     
    Reading this material should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation: Nancy Spector’s “Agnes Martin” Link: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation: Nancy Spector’s “Agnes Martin” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this essay and click on the link “More Works by Agnes Martin” immediately below the image to see some additional examples. Think about the elements that connect Martin’s work to that of the Minimalist artists as well as the elements that set her work apart from theirs.
     
    Reading this material should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: sharecom.ca: Clement Greenberg: “Modernist Painting” Link: sharecom.ca: Clement Greenberg: “Modernist Painting” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this essay and take careful notes. As you read, think about and try to answer the following questions: How does Greenberg define modernism? What are the qualities and values that he attributes to modernist painting? What relationship does he see between modernist art and the art of the past? What do you think Greenberg would value in the paintings of Agnes Martin or Kenneth Noland?
     
    Reading this essay and answering the questions should take approximately 45 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

9.2 Process Art   - Reading: The Art Story: “Eva Hesse” Link: The Art Story: “Eva Hesse” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this essay and remember to click on “More” after the “Eva Hesse Biography” section. Then click on the images under “Analysis of Eva Hesse’s Art Works” at the top of the page to read more about these sculptures.
 
Reading this essay should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Interactive Feature: “Eva Hesse” Link: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Interactive Feature: “Eva Hesse” (Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on the orange “Launch” button to begin your exploration. This will take you to a page with images of several of Hesse’s key works. Position your mouse on an image to reveal the title of the work and then click on the title to reveal questions about this work of art. Click on each of the questions to read the answers. Do this for each of the works on the first page. This is an excellent resource for a discussion of the meanings of Hesse’s works, the techniques she used, and her works’ relationship to the art of her contemporaries.
     
    Exploring this material should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The Art Story: “Robert Morris” Link: The Art Story: “Robert Morris” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this essay and click on “More” after the “Robert Morris Biography” section. Then click on the images under “Analysis of Robert Morris’s Art Works” and read about each one. You will see that Morris produced work that has been associated with Minimalism and Land Art as well as Process Art.
     
    Reading this essay should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The Art Story: “Joseph Beuys” Link: The Art Story: “Joseph Beuys” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: First, read over this page about the life and works of Joseph Bueys. Under “Joseph Beuys Biography,” be sure to click on “More”. Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Joseph Beuys’s Art Works” at the top right of the page and read the accompanying text.
     
    Reading this essay should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: Accidental Universe: “Joseph Beuys with Coyote” Link: Accidental Universe: “Joseph Beuys with Coyote” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: In 1974, Beuys performed one of his most famous action sculptures, “I Like America and America Likes Me,” in New York. Watch this film on that performance.
     
    Watching this film should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

9.3 Arte Povera   - Reading: The Art Story: “Arte Povera” Link: The Art Story: “Arte Povera” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this essay and remember to click on “More” after the “Beginnings” section. Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Art Works” at the top of the page and read about these works. What similarities to or differences from the works of Eva Hesse, Robert Morris, or Joseph Beuys (discussed in subunit 9.2) can you identify?
 
Reading this material and answering the questions should take approximately 1 hour.           
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: Tate Modern: “Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan” Link: Tate Modern: “Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan” (Flash)
     
    Instructions: Read the brief introduction, and then click on the play button on the first picture under the text and watch this video. Pay particular attention to Boetti’s unconventional materials and methods.
     
    Reading the introduction and watching the video should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The Art Newspaper: Gareth Harris’s “The Rich Legacy of Arte Povera” Link: The Art Newspaper: Gareth Harris’s “The Rich Legacy of Arte Povera” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this essay for more information on Michelangelo Pistoletto, one of the founders of Arte Povera, as well as a discussion of the movement’s influence on later artists.
     
    Reading this essay should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 9 Quiz” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 9 Quiz” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Complete this assessment to gauge your understanding of the topics covered in this unit. The correct answers will be displayed when you click the “Submit” button.

    Completing the quiz and reviewing, if necessary, should take approximately 30 minutes.