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less: minimalism in the 1960s

Acquavella Galleries, New York

Wed 1 Feb 2023 to Fri 10 Mar 2023

Acquavella Galleries presents less: minimalism in the 1960s, an exhibition featuring nineteen sculptural works by preeminent artists associated with the artistic movement that is now referred to as minimalism. The show is organized by Director Michael Findlay.

Installation Views

The term “minimalism,” now widely understood as an artistic and aesthetic style, was not always so ubiquitous. Associated with eliminating non-essential forms and exposing an object’s essence, this art historical movement emerged between 1961 and 1969 from a crucible of invention by mostly New York based artists—with artists in London and elsewhere also having a significant impact. The new aesthetic expressed itself sculpturally through largely un-pedestalled objects in a wide variety of materials. Despite varying in scale, texture, form, and palette, each work possessed a common enigmatic simplicity and clarity.

The artists included in this exhibition were at the center of this new movement in the early stages of their artistic practices; a single work by each artist is on view to underscore the conception of minimalist practices as a collective movement. Although today some of minimalism’s groundbreaking artists are better known than others, this installation revisits the impact their work had at the time of its creation. Many of the artists included here were also featured in Kynaston McShine’s seminal Primary Structures exhibition at The Jewish Museum in 1966– including Carl Andre, Richard Artschwager, Larry Bell, Ronald Bladen, Judy Chicago, Walter de Maria, Dan Flavin, Robert Grosvenor, Douglas Huebler, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, John McCracken, Robert Morris, and Anne Truitt—which is now posited as a critical juncture in the development of minimalism; however, the word “minimal” is mentioned in the exhibition catalogue only once, a reflection of the relative newness of the style.

Michael Findlay states: “What I hope to do with this exhibition is to introduce the viewer to the vision of these artists that I encountered well before they had significant critical or commercial status. They indeed made history, but the shared goal was to make things that were new and exciting. The bracing shock of those encounters… has never left me.”

The exhibition is accompanied by an online catalogue with supplemental materials and commentary, featuring an essay by Michael Findlay, as well as a panel discussion and podcast.

Installation view, less: minimalism in the 1960s at Acquavella Galleries, New York, February 1 - March 10, 2023

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