Exhibition view with Oli Sihvonen, Lothar Quinte und Poul Gernes
The "Minimalism and After" exhibition series was conceived in autumn 2000, as Minimalism is one of the key areas in the DaimlerChrysler Collection's long-term purchasing strategy. We now see that we anticipated the most important 2004 exhibition trend. Several major museum shows, from Los Angeles to Houston, New York and London - outstanding were ›A Minimal Future‹ and ›beyond geometry‹ in Los Angeles - are currently devoted to Minimalism and Geometrical Abstraction as an important phenomenon in Europe and the USA around 1960.
Many of the names we come across here have already featured in the DaimlerChrysler Collection's exhibitions in Berlin, Karlsruhe, Detroit and Pretoria.
Three approaches in our exhibition series that some people have questioned from time to time are confirmed by the current major exhibitions. Firstly, the fact that we are placing Minimalism and Geometrical Abstraction as an independent artistic phenomenon alongside classical Minimal Art. As well as this, European and American developments are no longer considered strictly separately. Our Minimalism and After exhibition series is based on the idea that a transatlantic history of the effect made by abstract-geometrical, reduced image-/object-forms has to be rediscovered.
This history starts with the 'emigration' of the Bauhaus and Constructivism in the 1930s, and the way they were received in the USA. It continues in the 1950s through the dialogue between American forms anticipating Minimalism and the Zero and New Tendencies developments in Europe. The culmination comes in 1960, with a minimalist image concept taking shape in parallel on both sides of the Atlantic. And finally the programmatic inclusion of contemporary art is especially important for our Minimalism and After series. This has been attempted comparably only by the ›Singular Forms (sometimes repeated)‹ show at the New York Guggenheim.
The contemporary return to the above-mentioned history of effect, and the recalling of many artists who have wrongly been forgotten today, is relevant from our point of view, in that a continuous discussion of the aesthetic, political and formal foundations of Minimalism as a driving force behind contemporary art can be heard today. It should be mentioned in passing here that the most interesting designers and architects have also developed a highly sophisticated formal language going back to premises ranging from Mies van der Rohe to Donald Judd.
›Minimalism and After III‹ concentrates on a dialogue between American and German artists (we are currently preparing a juxtaposition of British and Eastern European approaches from 1960 to the present day for 2005). A total of 27 artistic positions are presented in our present exhibition, with about 60 works from five decades.
American positions bordering on Neoconstructivism and forms anticipating Minimalism in succession to the Bauhaus, Mondrian and Suprematism are represented here by two West Coast painters, Karl Benjamin and Frederick Hammersley. Both were featured in the pioneering 1959 show organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art ›Four Abstract Classicists‹ - with John McLaughlin, whom we showed in 2003.
Looking back, two Quilts (dating from 1895 and 1935 respectively) made by the Amish People are to be seen as vestiges of early tendencies towards abstract image programmes in the USA. Alexander Liberman, Ilya Bolotowsky, Al Held, Oli Sihvonen and Jo Baer, one of the few outstanding women in this circle, were important exponents of New York Minimalism in the 1950s and 1960s
Similar European developments dating from the same time can be seen in our exhibition with works by Poul Gernes, Hartmut Böhm, Erwin Heerich, Christian Roeckenschuss and Lothar Quinte. Andreas Brandt's simple stripe picture, Absalon's singular wall object and video work, Thomas Locher's conceptual picture object and Hartmut Böhm's and Helmut Federle's minimalist drawing sequences dating from the 1990s mark the transition from the 1960s to current international trends.
The works by young German and American artists selected for this exhibition reflect the Constructivism/Geometrical, Abstraction/Minimalism encroachment of the early works. The constructive-geometrical position is represented here above all by the Americans Douglas Melini and John Tremblay; with Jens Wolf and Beat Zoderer on the European side. The minimalist picture object's tradition being pursued contemporarily in works by the German artists Gerold Miller and Anselm Reyle, and in the gleaming finish of New Yorker Vincent Szarek's objects. Finally, here, Ascan Pinckernelle's architectural drawings mediate between Erwin Heerich's architectural designs, rooted in the 1960s, and the minimal structures of an artist like Michelle Grabner. Tadaaki Kuwayama and Yuji Takeoka provide examples of reductionist pictorial concepts of Japanese provenance
Absalon (1964 Ashdod/IL - 1993 Paris/F), Amish People (USA)
Jo Baer (*1929 Seattle/USA, lives in Amsterdam/NL)
Karl Benjamin (*1925 Chicago/USA, lives in Claremont/USA)
Hartmut Böhm (*1938 Kassel/D, lives in Berlin and Lünen/D)
Ilya Bolotowsky (*1907 Petrograd/Russland - 1981 New York/USA)
Andreas Brandt (* 1935 in Halle, Saale/D, lives in Niebüll and Hamburg/D)
Helmut Federle (*1944 Solothurn/CH, lives in Wien)
Poul Gernes (* 1925 Frederiksberg/DK - 1996 Kopenhagen/DK)
Michelle Grabner (*1962 Oshkosh/USA)
Frederick Hammersley, (*1919 Salt Lake City/USA, lives in Albuquerque/USA)
Erwin Heerich (*1922 Kasssel/D, lives in Hombroich, Neuss/D)
Al Held (*1928 New York/USA, lives in New York/USA)
Alexander Liberman (*1912 Kiev/RUS - 1999 New York, USA)
Thomas Locher (*1956 Munderkingen/D, lives in Köln/D)
Douglas Melini (*1972 USA, lives in New York/USA)
Gerold Miller (*1961 Altshausen b. Ravensburg/D, lives in Berlin/D)
Ascan Pinckernelle (*1970 Hamburg/D, lives in Berlin/D)
Lothar Quinte (*1923 Neisse/D - 2000 Wintzenbach/D)
Anselm Reyle (*1970 Tübingen/D, lives in Berlin, D)
Christian Roeckenschuss (*1933 Dresden/D, lives in Berlin/D)
Oli Sihvonen (*1921 Brooklyn/USA - 1991 New York/USA)
Vincent Szarek (*1973 in Rhode Island/USA, lives in New York/USA)
John Tremblay (*1966 Boston/USA, lives in New York/USA)
Jens Wolf (*1967 Heilbronn/D, lives in Berlin/D)
Beat Zoderer (*1955 Zürich/CH, lives in Wettingen/CH)