"After a few months in my parents' basement, I took an apartment near the state university, where I discovered both crystal methamphetamine and conceptual art. Either one of these things are dangerous, but in combination they have the potential to destroy entire civilizations." - David Sedaris


Evan Reading Report on Art and Objecthood
John Baldessari, Perfect Painting, 1967 - 1968.











Three Flags

Mas o Menos

Jasper Johns, Three Flags, 1958.
Frank Stella, Mas o Menos (More or Less), 1964.











Die Fahne Hoch

Frank Stella, Die Fahne Hoch, 1959. 309 X 185 cm.


Die Fahne Hoch = raise the flag high - phrase from Nazi marching song











The painting is "a flat surface with paint on it- nothing more." - Frank Stella

Stella painting

“Frank Stella is not interested in expression or sensitivity.  He is interested in the necessity of painting…Frank Stella’s painting is not symbolic.  His stripes are the paths of brush on canvas.  These paths lead only into painting.”
– Carl Andre
Stella painting











The Marriage of Reason and Squalor

Frank Stella, The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, 1959.  7' 6 3/4" x 11' 3/4".


squalor = a filthy and wretched condition or quality










New Madrid

A picture is "a flat surface with paint on it - nothing more." - Frank Stella

"My painting is based on the fact that only what can be seen there is there.  It really is an can see the whole idea without any confusion...what you see is what you see." - Frank Stella
Frank Stella, New Madrid, 1961.











Hatra I

Frank Stella, Hatra I, 1967.


Hard-edge = style of painting in which paint application is intentionally impersonal and is comprised of particularly sharp delineated areas of color










1965 Barbara Rose essay on ABC Art discussed the recent emergence of "an art whose blank, neutral, mechanical impersonality contrasts so violently with the romantic, biographical abstract expressionist style which preceded it that spectators are chilled by its apparent lack of feeling or content."  "...if Pop Art is the reflection of our environment, perhaps the art I have been describing is its antidote, even if it is a hard one to swallow."


Donald Judd, Untitled, 1968.











Inspired by Ad Reinhardt's declaration, 12 Rules for a New Academy
"No texture, no brushwork, no drawing, no forms, no design, no color, no light, no space, no time, no size or scale, no movement and finally no object." - Ad Reinhardt
Ad Reinhardt, Abstract Painting no. 4, 1961.












Characteristics of Minimalist Sculpture:
Serial repetition of geometric forms
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.























Pink Out of a Corner
Dan Flavin, Pink Out of a Corner (To Jasper Johns), 1963.


"The real drama takes place not on the surface of the work, but rather, everywhere around it." - Bunny Smedley











Vladimir Tatlin, Monument to the Third International,
1919 - 1920. (never constructed)
Dan Flavin, Monument I For V. Tatlin, 1964.











Blue Intensity

Dan Flavin, Blue Intensity, Installation at LACMA 2007.











''I had to leave out a lot of things that one expects to see in a painting,'' Martin has said of this work. ''I was painting about happiness and bliss and they are very simple states of mind I guess. Morning is a wonderful dawn, soft and fresh.'' She began making delicate hand-drawn grids in 1960. This painting is based on a rectangular system of co-ordinates, but the total effect is like an atmospheric veil." - Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin, Morning, 1965.











Agnes Martin, Friendship, 1963.