Press Release Archive
215 South Fourth Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Dates: March 29 through May 7, 2006
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, noon-9 pm, Sunday, noon-4 pm
Opening Reception: Friday, March 31, 6-9 pm
"MINIMAL MAXIMUM" AT GALLERY PROJECT
The ‘complex simplicity’ of the Minimalism movement of the 1960’s sets the framework for ‘Minimal Maximum’. Since the simplicity of Minimalism, the world we live in has become more and more about ‘more’. A time when ideas like pluralism, globalization, and consumption push the boundaries of ‘maximum’. The artists represented in ‘Minimal Maximum’ are taking a contemporary approach to a minimal foundation. The diverse nature of the key minimalist artists that defined the movement set this layered stage for the ‘Minimal Maximum’ exhibition that runs from March 29th – May 7th at The Gallery Project.
The artists in ‘Minimal Maximum’ are using Minimalism and its complex criticism over the last few decades in a variety of ways. The exhibition, curated by Beili Liu, Jennifer Locke, and Graceann Warn, displays a diverse set of artists who aesthetically and conceptually are capitalizing on a Minimal groundwork. The artists include: Larry Cressman (Ann Arbor), Emily de Araujo (Los Angeles), Gretchen Goss (Cleveland), Brad McCombs (Cincinnati), Jack McLean (Chicago), Cynthia Randolph (Detroit), Anne Kirby Rubin (Detroit), Gary Setzer (Bowling Green), Andrew Simsak (Detroit), Jonathan Stevens (Pasadena), and Amanda Thatch (Detroit).
As time has shown, no one concept, aesthetic, or style has come from Minimalism. Donald Judd narrowly defined it, but the movement quickly continued to contradict his initial writings. Judd writes in his essay ‘Specific Objects’ 1965, “It isn’t necessary for a work to have a lot of things to look at, to compare, to analyze one by one, to contemplate. The thing as a whole, its quality as a whole, is what is interesting. The main things are alone and are more intense clear and powerful.” Judd’s idea of specificity only opened the dialogue for works to become more complex. The key artists that defined the movement are all too diverse to fit neatly into Judd’s aluminum cube.
Dan Flavin and his florescent light installations capitalize on the unassisted ready-made. Robert Morris related the body to space; Morris stated, “One knows immediately what is smaller and what is larger than himself.” Sol Lewitt stressed the idea over execution in his repetitive systems. John Cage let the listener’s listening become the composition. And, Carl Andre defined the site on display. These varied approaches opened the field for artists like Felix Gonzalez-Torres to create piles of candy referencing Judd’s repetitious eye candy or the decline of the artist’s immune system. Since Judd’s defining essay, artists have continued to investigate the minimal. But as Jeremy Gilbert Rolfe states in ‘Minimalism at the Moment, “Minimalism was a movement too driven by critical ambition to sustain itself… most of the art since Minimalism hasn’t been interested in doing anything except using the blankness and simplicity of Minimalist sculpture as something to stick a message on…”
As Minimalism had time to be decoded the critics started to apply more than Judd first proposed in his early writings. Rosalind Krauss writes ‘Allusion and Illusion in Donald Judd’ (1966) which points out the complexity and beauty (not simplicity) of Judd. While Krauss’s essay focuses on formal aspects, Barbara Rose pushes the movement by relating the works to social, philosophical and cultural reflections. In ‘ABC Art’ (1965), Rose discusses the lineage of art movements that affect or support this Minimal movement. She starts with supremacist compositions of Maelvich, moves on to Duchamp’s unassisted ready-mades and talks about Greenberg’s “Modernist Reduction”. She writes, “But if Pop Art is a reflection of our environment, perhaps the art I have been describing is its antidote, even if it is a hard one to swallow.” Hal Foster writes, two decades later in response to Rose, ‘The Crux of Minimalism’ (1986-1996), “In this genealogy Minimalism will figure not as a distant dead end but as a contemporary crux, a paradigm shift towards post modernist practices that continue to be elaborated today.” Like the artists of the movement, the artists that comprise ‘Minimal Maximum’ are a diverse group.
Gallery Project is a fine art collaborative. Its mission is to provide a venue for contemporary art that is culturally aware, individualistic, courageous, and thought provoking. Spring-Summer hours are: Tuesday-Saturday, noon-9; Sunday, noon-4; closed Mondays.