Minimalism in the Time-Based Arts: dance, film and video

Authored by: Dean Suzuki

The Ashgate Research Companion to Minimalist and Postminimalist Music

Print publication date:  November  2013
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409435495
eBook ISBN: 9781315613260
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042556

10.4324/9781315613260.ch5

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Abstract

Minimalism is most commonly thought of as a style manifested in music and the visual arts, as explored by Edward Strickland in Minimalism: origins, Jonathan W. Bernard in ‘The Minimalist Aesthetic in the Plastic Arts and Music’, and the present author in Minimal Music: its evolution as seen in the works of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and La Monte Young, and its relation to the visual arts, among others. 1 1

Edward Strickland, Minimalism: origins (Bloomington, 1993); Jonathan W. Bernard, ‘The Minimalist Aesthetic in the Plastic Arts and Music’, Perspectives of New Music, 31/1 (1993): pp. 86–132; and Dean Paul Suzuki, Minimal Music: its evolution as seen in the works of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and La Monte Young, and its relation to the visual arts (PhD diss., University of Southern California, 1991).

However, minimalism, or at least minimalist tendencies and techniques, are found in many other disciplines, including the time-based arts in fields such as dance, film and video, theatre, performance art and sound poetry (also known as text-sound composition). Artists in these other disciplines whose work is characterized by elements such as repetition, stasis, gradually unfolding processes, and other techniques associated with minimalism, include Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Laura Dean and Yvonne Rainer in dance; and Tony Conrad, Jon Gibson (though he is known primarily as a composer and performing musician), Yoko Ono, Richard Serra, Paul Sharits, Michael Snow, Kirk Tougas and Andy Warhol in film or video. They also include Robert Wilson in theatre, Laurie Anderson in performance art, and Charles Amirkhanian, Brion Gysin and Christopher Knowles in sound poetry, among many others, though space does not permit this chapter to venture outside dance, film and video.

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