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Twentieth-century movements in art and music characterized by extreme simplicity of form and rejection of emotional content. In the visual arts, Minimalism originated in New York City in the 1950s as a form of abstract art and became a major trend in the 1960s and '70s. The Minimalists believed that a work of art should be entirely self-referential; personal elements were stripped away to reveal the objective, purely visual elements. Leading Minimalist sculptors include Carl Andre and Donald Judd; Minimalist painters include Ellsworth Kelly and Agnes Martin. In music, Minimalism arose in the 1960s. It employs a steady pulsing beat, incessant repetition of tones and chords with only gradual changes in their components, a slow rate of harmonic change, and little or no counterpoint. Its principal antecedents are the musics of India and Southeast Asia. Its most important early practitioners include La Monte Young (b. 1935), Terry Riley (b. 1935), whose In C (1964) is perhaps its most seminal work, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and John Adams.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Minimalism, visit Britannica.com.
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