From Lofts to the Streets: The Apex of Minimalism

BY Katrina Kufer / Apr 24 2017 / 14:29 PM

A Different Way To Move considers Minimalism's reach as it swept through New York in the 60s and 70s

From Lofts to the Streets: The Apex of Minimalism
Photo © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/ image Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/Dist. RMN-GP. © ADAGP, Paris, 2017
Bruce Nauman. (Detail) Walking in an Exaggerated Manner around the Perimeter of a Square. 1967-1968. Black and white 16 mm film. 10'40''. Acquired in 1996. Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d'art moderne/Centre de création industrielle.

Curator Marcella Lista is intent on broadening the definition of Minimal art. More than a visual art movement, it incorporated writing, film, dance and music and found a home in New York in the 1960s and 70s. Its subversive undertones served as the through-line for a movement that went far beyond a straightforward, singular medium approach, which all began in an improvisational workshop hosted by Anna Halprin.

Halprin’s San Francisco workshop took place in the late 1950s, but the ensuing introductions between artists, writers and dancers served as the basis for a network that would create a new visual language evolving in New York lofts. A Different Way To Move, together with a programme of city-wide performances and concerts, is a comprehensive exhibition that embodies the diversity of the field of Minimalism. Paying attention to the individuals who formed the core of the movement in the mid-60s through to Post-Minimalism, the show aims to present a collective history of the significance of the American Postmodern interpretation in particular.

The exhibition outlines the development of a new creative language, manifested through dance, sound and/or movement, taking the artistic product beyond a tangible object and towards radically experimental works. For the art world, it saw seminal artists such as Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt and Richard Serra reinventing the seemingly disparate relationship between object and viewer. It also provided a strong foundation in which to critique the Vietnam war, a topic which fuelled much of the creative production and political activism of the time.

“We had to find a different way to move” said Yvonne Rainer, an experimental American dancer, choreographer and filmmaker, of this torch-bearing period, as much a time of conceptual and theoretical research as of practical explorations of actions and expressions.

The exhibition features works from the collection of the Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Centre National de la Danse (Paris), Collection Lambert (Avignon), Kunstmuseum Basel (Basel) MoMA (New York) and Museo de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid), among others, and is showing on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Centre Pompidou.

A Different Way to Move: Minimalism, New York, 1960-1980 runs until 17 September at Musee d’art Contemporain de Nimes, Nimes, France. For more information visit