Minimalism Originated Here? Maybe Not.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Hélio Oiticica, Spatial Relief, c. 1960 (The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art, museum funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Foundation © Estate of Hélio Oiticica)

Forty-eight years ago, The Jewish Museum put Minimalism on the map by hosting the art movement's first American exhibition.

Now it's presenting a show highlighting early examples from Africa, Asia the Middle East and Latin America. Many of the works have rarely been seen in the United States.

Installation view of Other Primary Structures at The Jewish Museum, New York.

Minimalism is known for its simplicity of form and for the stripping of personal expression — and for arising in New York. WNYC art critic Deborah Solomon said that's why this show is so surprising. 

She said that the Museum of Modern Art named Minimalism as the most influential art movement of the past half-century. But they were focused on America.

"The news that it may not have initially originated in New York, but elsewhere, in countries where the Museum of Modern Art wasn't looking, certainly seems to me worth exploring and makes the show historically interesting," she said.

Edward Krasiński, a Polish artist, created this wood and metal piece in 1965.

The artists featured include Sérgio Camargo, Lygia Clark, Edward Krasiński, David Lamelas and Hélio Oiticica. The exhibit is on view until Aug. 3.

"Untitled" by Brazilian Lygia Pape is made from acrylic on plywood.


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