Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism.

Minimalism emerged in New York in the early 1960s among artists who were self-consciously renouncing recent art they thought had become stale and academic. A wave of new influences and rediscovered styles led younger artists to question conventional boundaries between various media. The new art favored the cool over the “dramatic”: their sculptures were frequently fabricated from industrial materials and emphasized anonymity over the expressive excess of Abstract Expressionism. Painters and sculptors avoided overt symbolism and emotional content, but instead called attention to the materiality of the works. Minimalism kind of says that if you put one mark on a page that one mark gets 100% of the attention. If you add another mark the first mark only gets half the attention, and so on so that as you add more things each of the individual things loses some of its impact. I can sum up Minimalism in the quote “Less is More”.

Frank Stella, Di Fahne Hoch! (1959)


I really like the  Minimalist movement, just because of it’s simplicity in some sort, in the visual way, while there might be the deepest and complex meanings behind it. I’ve researched this painting and found out that what appear at first to be white lines are actually bare, narrow spaces of unprimed canvas between the standardized black bands that the artist applied with a housepainter’s brush. There was nothing to this work, the artist declared, beyond the observable—as he put it in a now-famous maxim, “what you see is what you see.” While Stella insisted on the non-referentiality of his paintings, the German title Die Fahne hoch!, which translates as “hoist the flag,” is taken from the “Horst Wessel Song,” the Nazi Party’s marching anthem.  The phrase may also refer to raising the banner of a new aesthetic or some sort.


Abstract Expressionism is different from Minimalism in the way that in abstract expressionism the painter is showing his or hers own energy through the brushstroke. The viewer can feel the painters emotions by following the jabs, swirls and marks the artist made. 

I particularly enjoy looking at this painting by Sam Francis, I think it has a great purpose of reflecting the Abstract Expressionism movement . The large size gives the painting more intensity and heaviness to the look. I find it hard to describe, but when I look at this painting it seems like if I look long enough the brushstrokes, the colors are gonna start moving in a circle like a smoke from a cigarette coming up and slowly dissolving in the air. Also, very brave and bold choice of color, I always pay attention to that. The artist is mixing cold, primary, blue color with glimpses/marks of secondary color yellow, showing through and creating some sort of contrast on a white canvas that does contain bunch of different colors that are sloppily placed around. Yet at the end the composition works well together. Reminds me of graffiti too.

Around the Blues 1957-62 by Sam Francis 1923-1994
Sam Francis “Around the Blues”, 1957-62


Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism.

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