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"Had They Really Forgotten God? Minimalism as Immanent Transcendence"
  • Brian S Winkenweder, Dr., Linfield College

The summer 1967 issue of Artforum was a watershed publication initiating a new chapter in art theory. This issue included numerous essays that shaped the discourse of art during the last third of the 20th century. Among the significant contributions was Michael Fried’s essay, “Art and Objecthood” which was immediately followed by Robert Morris’s “Notes on Sculpture, Part 3.” Notably, Fried’s article quoted liberally from the first two parts of Morris’s essay. Positioning “literalist” art, Fried’s term for Minimalism, as the opposite of modernism, he established a tautology whereby “literalist” sculpture reduces art to mere objecthood which promotes a “new genre of theater.” Fried famously opined “theater is now the negation of art.”1 Since Fried insisted that modern art’s value derives from instantaneity and Morris’s objects require duration, I endeavor to show that these opposed metaphors of time compliment one another rather than cancel each other out. Fried concluded his essay with the tautology: “Presentness is grace”; in reply, Morris began: “Seeing an object in real space may not be a very immediate experience.” This paper seeks to locate territory shared by these positions.

  • Robert Morris,
  • Michael Fried,
  • Minimalism,
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein
Publication Date
Citation Information
Brian S Winkenweder. ""Had They Really Forgotten God? Minimalism as Immanent Transcendence"" (2009)
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