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  • The A to Z of Isms, Minimalism.

  • For some people, minimalism just means not owning any stuff. It's a lifestyle choice.

  • It means owning few possessions, living in largely empty space, and even eating minimalist food.

  • No chips for the minimalists.

  • They own shiny white tablets, shop at little grey stores, and don't have enough black plastic chairs.

  • For some, it's to do with architecture, and for others, it's a musical movement.

  • In fact, minimalism is a philosophy with roots and branches in many places.

  • The word minimalism first turns up in 1965, in an article by British philosopher, Richard Wollheim, who wrote about artists with minimal art content.

  • This negative description was turned into a positive by minimalist artists.

  • They saw minimalism as a kind of pure art.

  • To quote the minimalist painter Frank Stella, "What you see is what you see."

  • This isn't art that copies something real—a person's face, a nice horse, or tries to depict a feeling.

  • A minimalist art object is itself, and nothing else.

  • All minimalism is in part of reaction.

  • In the case of minimalist architecture, it's a reaction to decoration, to ornament, and to fuss.

  • Minimalist buildings are simple, and minimalist architects like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Maya Lin create structures full of light and space.

  • Their work can be summed up in Van der Rohe's famous statement that, "Less is more."

  • Minimalist gurus, like Marie Kondo, believe in decluttering, but say, "It's not about knowing what to throw out, it's knowing what to keep."

  • A lot of minimalism can appear harsh and inhuman, the exception is minimalistic music.

  • Pioneered by composers like Philip Glass, minimalist music features repetition, simple patterns, and phase shiftingthe movement of a repeating item to create an arresting effect.

  • Despite the often austere simplicity of the music, or because of it, many minimalistic pieces of music are profoundly moving and deeply emotional.

  • Minimalism is, in part, a reaction to the increasingly busy and loud world around us.

  • Artists and consumers alike have reacted against the clutter and chaos of life and art, and created many disparate forms of minimalism.

  • Sometimes minimalism can seem confusing, as in Carl Andre's famous brick sculpture.

  • Sometimes it can be stark, like a Mise van der Rohe office block.

  • But sometimes, as in the field of minimalist music, minimalism can be beautiful.

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The A to Z of Isms, Minimalism.

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