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Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties By James Meyer. Yale University Press, 2001. 340pp. £35

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review: art and architecture

The term 'Minimalist'was so widely and loosely applied in the 1990s, whether by World of Interiors or Wallpaper* , that people lost sight of the 1960s art that first gave it currency. Not that any artists then announced themselves as Minimalists - but the label stuck. Five names usually figure when the subject is discussed: Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre and Sol LeWitt (pictured). To these, in this lucid, accessible and thoroughly researched book, James Meyer adds a sixth - Anne Truitt, whose painted wooden sculptures are kin to more familiar '60s work. Meyer constructs an exact chronology for the decade: he establishes the sequence of exhibitions, discovering just what they contained and how they were installed; he examines critical responses at the time as well as the writings of his artist protagonists. In doing so he reveals what 'Minimalism'has come to obscure - practices that were sometimes comparable but as often divergent. This is illuminating, persuasive art history, the more valuable because so much of the work that it considers still looks so good.

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