Anti Form
"The world is full of objects, more or less interesting: I do not wish to add any more." - Douglas Huebler


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Douglas Huebler, Variable Piece #44, 1971.












One and Three Chairs

mid 1960s - present

Conceptualism = holds that the idea is the work of art. Any painting, sculpture, drawing, print, photograph or building created in response to that idea is simply a piece of documentation, a record of aesthetic expression as opposed to aesthettic espression itself.

Conceptual art is "made to engage the mind of the viewer rather than his eye or emotions." - Sol Le Witt
Joseph Kosuth, One and Three Chairs, 1965.











Plato's concept of "The Forms"

One and Three Hammers

The material world as it seems is not the "real" world, but a shadow of it
How do we know what is real?
What is "reality?"
art is to represent
art is re-presentation
Joseph Kosuth, One and Three Hammers, 1965.











Art and Culture
Art and Culture
John Latham, Text from Art & Culture, 1966.
John Latham, Art & Culture, 1966.











"LeWitt challenged some very fundamental beliefs about art, including the authority of the artist in the production of a work. His emphasis is most often on process and materials (or the lack thereof in the case of the latter) rather than on imbuing a work with a specific message or narrative. Art, for LeWitt, could exist for its own sake. Meaning was not a requirement."
"A conceptual piece, this work was produced shortly following the publication of LeWitt's 1968 manifesto describing the new Conceptual art movement. In the manifesto, he declares, 'The execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art,' '...LeWitt disengages himself from the work and takes a strong 'death of the author'" stance. - The Art Story
Sol Lewitt, Cube Containing Object of Significance But Very Little Value, 1968.











Sol Lewitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective at Mass MoCA











Sol Lewitt, Wall Drawing #49, 1970.











Sol Lewitt, Wall Drawing #41, 1970.











Light to Dark Scribbles
Dark to Light Scribbles
Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #1166 Light to dark (scribbles) and #1167 Dark to Light (scribbles), July 2005.











Plywood Show

Robert Morris, Plywood Show, 1964 at the Green Gallery, NY.











Robert Morris, Slab, 1973 reconstruction of work shown in 1962.











The work "nearly appears not to be art." - Donald Judd
anarchy = a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority
The artist's hand
The idea of the original
Notions of creation and preservation
Robert Morris, Untitled, 1964.











"Robert Morris's work is fundamentally theatrical… his theater is one of negation: negation of the avant-gardist concept of originality, negation of logic and reason, negation of the desire to assign uniform cultural meanings to diverse phenomena; negation of a worldview that distrusts the unfamiliar and the unconventional."
- Maurice Berger
Robert Morris, Untitled (Pink Felt), 1964. Felt pieces of various sizes, dimensions variable.











Robert Morris publishes Anti Form, 1968
  • Reassess assumptions underlying Minimalist art and concludes that "the construction of such objects had relied on subjective decisions and therefore resulted in icons—making them essentially no different than traditional sculpture." - Jennifer Blessing
  • Argues that sculpted form should be dictated by process, not preconceived
  • Extends Lucy Lippard's earlier recognition of a growing tendency toward "the dematerialization of the art object"



Robert Morris, Untitled, 1965/1971.











"Morris’s scattered felt strips obliquely allude to the human body through their response to gravity and epidermal quality. The ragged irregular contours of the jumbled heap refuse to conform to the strict unitary profile that is characteristic of Minimalist sculpture. This, along with its growing referentiality, led Morris’s work of the late-1960s and early 1970s to be referred to by such terms as Anti-Form, Process art, or Post-Minimalism. - Jennifer Blessing
Robert Morris, Untitled, 1970. 72 x 144 x 18 inches.











Artists have grown weary

Fiber Pile

  • Tired of consumption of Pop
  • Responding with conceptual works
  • Tired of capital value of art
  • Responding with works that couldn't be bought or owned
  • Tired of being told what to do by art critics
  • Responding by writing their own art theory
Robert Morris, Untitled, 1968.












Characteristics of Minimalist Sculpture:
  • Serial repetition of geometric forms
  • Manufactured
  • Industrial, commercially available materials
  • Focus on the material rather than metaphor
Donald Judd, Untitled, 1967.





















"Why didn't you make it larger so that it would loom over the observer?"
"I was not making a monument."
"Then why didn't you make it smaller so that the observer could see over the top?"
"I was not making an object."
literalism = fidelity to observable fact
Tony Smith, Die, 1962. 6 X 6 X 6 ft.











Frank Stella, Lake City, 1961.

Critical Rebuttals
1967 Greenberg attacks Minimal sculpture in "Recentness of Sculpture"
  • Felt that Minimalist painting followed his formalist rules too literally
  • Compares Minimalist aesthetic to good design
In Art and Objecthood Michael Fried admonished the Minimalists for going too far, making objects so literal they directed the viewer to external relationships, which Fried called "theatrical"
"Because Post-Painterly abstraction seemed to bring the possibilities offered by pure painting to a kind of conclusion, artists who wished to find their way forward were for a while inclined to abandon the idea of the painted canvas as a vehicle for what they wanted to do or say. This resulted in a great swing of attention towards sculpture, and also in an increasing number of experiments with mixed media." - Edward Lucie-Smith











"When I was teaching at Cooper Union in the first year or two of the fifites, someone told me how I could get onto the unfinished New Jersey Turnpike. I took three students and drove from somewhere in the Meadows to New Brunswick. It was a dark night and there were no lights or shoulder markers, lines, railings or anything at all except the dark pavement moving through the landscape of the flats, rimmed by hills in the distance, but punctuated by stacks towers, fumes, and colored lights. This drive was a revealing experience. The road and much of the landscape was artificial, and yet it couldn’t be called a work of art. On the other hand, it did something for me that art had never done. At first I didn’t know what it was, but its effect was to liberate me from many of the views I had had about art. It seemed that there had been a reality there that had not had any expression in art.

The experience of the road was something mapped out but not socially recognized. I thought to myself, it ought to be clear that’s the end of art. Most painting looks pretty pictorial after that. There is no way you can frame it, you just have to experience it."

–Tony Smith (quoted from Michael Fried’s “Art and Objecthood,” 1967)

Tony Smith, Free Ride, 1962.