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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Postminimalism is a term utilized in various artistic fields for work which is influenced by, or attempts to develop and go beyond, the aesthetic of minimalism. The expression is used specifically in relation to music and the visual arts, but can refer to any field using minimalism as a critical reference point.

Visual art

In visual art, postminimalism refers specifically to the work of those artists who utilize minimalism either as an aesthetic or conceptual reference point. The term refers less to a particular movement than an artistic tendency. Postminimalist artworks are usually everyday objects, use simple materials, and sometimes take on a "pure", formalist aesthetic. However, since postminimalism includes such a diverse and disparate group of artists, it is impossible to enumerate all the continuities and similarities between them.

Examples of postminimalist work include pieces such as the Water-Tower by Rachel Whiteread: its interior is cast in clear resin, and it is displayed on the rooftop of a building in New York where the original tower stood. The work of Eva Hesse is also postminimalist: it uses "grids" and "seriality", themes often found in minimalism, but is also usually hand-made, introducing a human element into her art, so often missing in the machine or custom-made works of minimalism. Similarly, Anish Kapoor's pieces seek to evoke the sublime through monochromatic forms, simple beauty, tactile surfaces, and/or voluminous size. A recent variant of postminimalism is to be found in the work of Tom Friedman, where absurdity and humour play a key role.

Artists who are frequently considered postminimalist include:


In its general musical usage, postminimalism refers to works influenced by minimalist music, and it is generally categorized within the meta-genre art music, but also was a main feature in many popular bands like Kraftwerk, David Bowie, Brian Eno and Neu. Writer Kyle Gann has employed the term more strictly to connote the style that flourished in the 1980s and 1990s and characterized by:

  1. a steady pulse, usually continuing throughout a work or movement;
  2. a diatonic pitch language, tonal in effect but avoiding traditional functional tonality;
  3. general evenness of dynamics, without strong climaxes or nuanced emotionalism; and
  4. unlike minimalism, an avoidance of obvious or linear formal design.

Minimalist procedures such as additive and subtractive process are common in postminimalism, though usually in disguised form, and the style has also shown a capacity for absorbing influences from world and popular music (Balinese gamelan, bluegrass, Jewish cantillation, and so on).

Composers who may be considered postminimalist include:

For a musical style derived from minimalism, see Totalism (music).

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Postminimalism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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