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Art movements of the 60s and 70s

Two movements dominated artistic development during the 1960s and 1970s: Minimalism and Conceptual art.

Like many art movement terms 'Minimalism' and 'Conceptual art' are not used to describe a cohesive group of artists who consciously saw themselves as a 'movement' but rather two noticeable trends in artistic thought and production that emerged simultaneously during the 1960s, continued into the 1970s and can still be seen influencing much of the art of today. There are therefore, no neat 'start' or 'end' dates for either movement, although Minimalism can be seen to have emerged slightly earlier.

Minimalist and Conceptual artists shared many ideas and concerns, with some such as Sol LeWitt and Robert Morris, often discussed in relation to both movements. For this reason, the impact of these movements on the art world and how the work was received by the public is discussed together here.

For many people used to thinking of art in terms of sculpture and painting, the nature of some of the work created by artists during the sixties and seventies can be perplexing. Barbara Reise worked with and established friendships with key artists from both movements, and it is through her collection of correspondence and other documents relating to their activities, that we will explore the ideas and art of these movements.

These pages do not provide an exhaustive definition or history, but are intended as an introduction to some of the key ideas and works. For those wishing to carry out more in depth research, see Further Information.