Minimal Art (Opening)
Fri, 16.03.2001, 6 pm CET

The reorganized presentation of the collections in the Museum of Contemporary Art⎥ZKM centres on the works of Minimal Art represented in the private collections FER, Froehlich and Siegfried Weishaupt. Pieces by Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Dan Flavin and Sol LeWitt are on show. The distinctive features of these Minimalists sculptures are the extremely reduced formal language, the usage of modern industrial materials such as plywood, aluminium and neon tubes, and the resultant artistic impersonality. The development of art in the late 1960s and ’70s was influenced by writings in which the exponents of Minimalism self-confidently underpinned their theories. They opposed the traditional expressive possibilities of painting and sculpture, demanding ‘new works’ that would deal with the direct perception of space, volume and material in a re-assessed relationship between viewer, site and work of art.

Works by Blinky Palermo, Imi Knoebel or Sigmar Polke show how Minimal Art, a specifically American movement, was taken up and commentated by artists in Europe. A primary impelling force for Conceptual Art, the Minimalists also essentially influenced other directions such as Performance and Body Art.

The private collections in the MNK encompass various focal areas, such as Pop Art and Arte Povera, conveying to visitors a differentiated view of parallel currents in European and US art in the 1960s and ‘70s. Moreover, artists who were crucial to the development of Minimal Art, such as Mark Rothko, John Chamberlain and Frank Stella, are also represented in the collections. Contemporary artists’ sustained interest in Minimalism is demonstrated by the variegated approaches in recent works by Tobias Rehberger, Liam Gillick, John Armleder or Haim Steinbach.

The new presentation of the collections will be marked by the catalogue, published by Götz Adriani, documenting individual works along with essays highlighting their significance. Early source texts (translated into German) written by the artists make clear their new understanding of art production. Gregor Stemmrich’s contribution outlines the main aspects of form and content in Minimal Art. Nina Möntmann examines the functions of space, starting with the Minimalists’ and moving on to the recent art of the 1990s. Articles by Christiane Jürgens, Matthia Löbke and Ralph Melcher focus on the output of Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd and Carl Andre.

Organization / Institution
ZKM