S otheby’s East Hampton is pleased to present Minimalism: Flavin, Judd, LeWitt. Spanning across decades and media, this exhibition pays homage to Dan Flavin, Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, three of the most influential artists of the Minimalist movement. This stunning array of work illustrates the breadth of the movement’s creative output while simultaneously underscoring the guiding principles that informed each artists practice.
66 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, NY 11937
and by appointment
More on the Exhibition
A style of abstract art that rose to prominence in America in the 1960’s and ‘70s, Minimalism took inspiration from Constructivism, De Stijl and the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp to create an entirely new aesthetic language. Characterized by a rejection of the narrative laden work of their predecessors and emptied of external references, the art object’s literal presence – its physical qualities, relationship to its surroundings, and the phenomenological experience of the viewer encountering the work – is elevated. Pushing geometric abstraction to its logical extreme, Minimalist artwork uses precise, hard-edged forms, often squares and rectangles, to create nonhierarchical, mathematically regular compositions. At its inception, Minimalism presented a fundamental challenge to traditional understandings of how art was valued and experienced. By stripping away artistic subjectivity and expression, Minimalist works prioritize the viewer’s encounter with the art object and its environment.
Regarded as the leading figure of Minimalism, a thought pioneer and amongst the most influential American artists of the 20th Century, Donald Judd’s rigorous commitment to the essential, unassailable truths of artistic creation are evident in works such as Untitled (Stainless Steel/Red) from 1979 which embodies the signature interplay of color, space and material that exemplifies his extraordinary sculpture practice. Judd defined the Minimalist movement both intellectually and aesthetically, in both his writings and his practice, and catalyzed a shift in American art that helped the country move beyond the legacy of the Abstract Expressionists. Through his work Judd sought to challenge the thematic allusion and illusionism which had, for centuries, defined the paintings of canonical art history. By mounting his sculptures to the wall rather than setting them on the floor, as in Untitled, 1969, Judd radically subverted the preexisting constraints binding painting and sculpture.
A pivotal figure to both Conceptual Art and Minimalism, Sol LeWitt’s oeuvre is defined by a technical and intellectual rigor. Stressing the importance of theory and employing meticulous systems of execution to his work, LeWitt’s artwork typifies the primacy of ideas and thought in artmaking, a tenant paramount to Minimalism. His allegiance to a near scientific exactitude in technique produce works that achieve a visual transcendence through their absolute precision, as with Circles, Arcs from Opposite Corners and Opposite Sides, 1971. A keen theoretician of color as well as form, LeWitt’s works such as Bands of Color in Four Directions & All combinations from 1971 are visually and intellectually revelatory.
For his part, Dan Flavin’s iconic installations collapse the divide between architecture and atmosphere as well as light and space, pushing the precepts of minimalism to their zenith. Fusing the radicality of Judd’s vision with LeWitt’s environmental interventions, such as his famed wall drawings, Flavin’s work transforms space and environment, taking Minimalism to the final frontier. Flavin had an especially close and important friendship with Donald Judd, and their symbiotic exchange of ideas can be observed in both artists practices. This influential relationship is captured in the intensely personal Untitled (To Rainer) 2 from 1987, dedicated in its title by Flavin to Judd’s daughter, Rainer Judd.
Minimalism: Flavin, Judd, LeWitt at Sotheby’s East Hampton presents a stunning opportunity to observe these artists’ work in proximity to one another and underscores the deep profundity and salient impact of their joint project and creative output.