The Language of Less (Then and Now)
Looking back in the history of art, ideas in the definition of art have changed over the years. Art becomes categorized through the changes in art over time. This allows us to better understand how art shapes and has shaped the world of art. By visiting the MCA, The Language of Less (Then and Now), I viewed art from the 60s and 70s. Viewing the minimalist works, ideas of society and the everyday emerged. By viewing this exhibition, I compared and contrasted the art from then and now to present day.
The Language of the Less exhibition held work of minimalist sculptures. Upon entering the exhibition, I was able to identify it to minimalism. Being familiar with some works, such as Donald Judd and Richard Serra, it allowed me to be engaged quickly. The works carried the ideas of manufacturing and mass-production. Because of this machine made like objects, it carried little or no ideas of imagery and concepts. As the idea of “artists that worked with their hands” is absent while viewing these works, other thoughts arise. Since the “essentials” are stripped in this kind of art, I began to focus in on other details the works held.
For Robert Smithson’s, Mirror Stratum (1966), I began to look and study the detail the spacing’s of each overlaid mirror (Repetition is formed by overlaying mirrors). Smithson begins to create a 3-dimensional form with the mirrors and its reflections. I focused in and began to wonder on the construction of this work that Smithson created. Minimalism created an experience not only in person, but also in my mind. By stripping the embellishments in this piece, I able to comprehend the ideas of the basic markers. (Ex: color, hue, proportions, shape, texture, etc.)
Donald Judd’s Untitled (1970), is one that I have previously viewed photographs of. (Similar to Judd’s Stacks). The visuals of this artwork shows the industrial reproduction techniques. This minimalist piece shows metal structures repeating and stacked equally spaced apart. This shows a reproduction of the same object, which immediately gave me the idea, and understanding of mass-production. With the aesthetics from this artwork, it leads to social aesthetics. It displays a commercial enterprise to the eyes of the viewer and sent a message that is understood from the importance of the growing reproduction market.
The entire exhibition was so simple and minimal, yet it was complex. Not only did the art allow the viewer to focus on its details, I began to concentrate on its entirety. The minimalism of the works allowed me to grab attention on the floor plane, height and widths between each work on/off the wall, and even the compositions of hanging works. As these works address the attention to every bit of detail, it mapped out to a wide variety of interests and approaches. This play in space allowed me to understand this built environment of dimension. The Language of Art exhibition allowed me to appreciate the aesthetics of the works.