Information in the Degree Programme Tables may still be subject to change in response to Covid-19

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: The Minimalist Moment: American Art, 1960-1975 (HIAR10152)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course offers an investigation of Minimalist art in America, c1960-1975, and its legacies in contemporary art, across a range of media. The course is structured as a series of two-hour seminars, focusing each week on individual artists, working in a different medium or area of art practice (objects, space, photography, film, etc.).
Course description This course examines the gesture of extreme reduction explored by artists working in painting, drawing, sculpture, film, photography and dance from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s, in the USA; as well as, to some extent, tracing its legacies in contemporary art. What happens to photography when you refuse to photograph people? What happens to film when you refuse to project any images? What happens to sculpture when you refuse to carve or mould? Across a range of different practices, artists working at this moment shared a rejection of expressivity, skill, medium and tradition. What opened up in the place of these refusals was a range of unexpected and powerful effects, and a language of form which is still influential and even inescapable today. Attending closely to contesting historical definitions, but building on the latest scholarship, the aim of the course is to survey a range of materially and ideologically heterogeneous practices, in order to produce an expanded 'Minimalist moment', that includes investigation of the socio-political as well as formal meanings of particular works. Fundamentally the course addresses the questions of what it means to focus on a gesture of reduction so extreme that it becomes excessive, and what within minimalism may surpass its own terms.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012) OR Architectural History 2a: Order & the City (ARHI08006) AND Architectural History 2b: Culture & the City (ARHI08007)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have completed at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above, and we will only consider University/College level courses. **Please note that 3rd year History of Art courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  21
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 24, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 150 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) You will be assessed for this course in two ways:
(1) ESSAY (worth 50% of your overall mark) One 2,000 word essay, the title to be chosen from a list supplied.

(2) 24 HOUR ONLINE EXAM IN DECEMBER (worth 50% of your overall mark) You will be required to answer 2 questions from a choice of six; of which one question will be a compulsory visual analysis question.
Learning outcomes will be tested equally in both components of assessment.
Feedback Formative and summative feedback will be provided.

You will be asked to prepare a spoken presentation to deliver to the class, and will be supported to develop this in a one-to-one meeting beforehand, and will receive verbal feedback at a second one-to-one meeting afterwards. The work done for the presentation will contribute directly either to the essay or to the exam.

Summative assessment will be in the form of a 2000-word essay, due at the end of the semester, and a written exam, to be taken in the December examination period. Written summative feedback on student essays will be provided, followed by a third one-to-one meeting. There will also be an exam preparation class of one hour.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)24 HOUR ONLINE EXAMINATION PAPER0:05
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Look closely at works of art from the 1960s and 70s, which often appear opaque and/or resistant to analysis, and begin to explain why they look the way they do.
  2. Read difficult texts on Minimalism and related theoretical topics skillfully and with understanding, and use them to build your own arguments.
  3. Successfully analyze ideas and arguments concerning the aims of Minimalism, its achievements and limitations, and set these in historical context.
  4. Present your own ideas clearly and well in writing and in debate.
  5. Prepare and organize your work effectively to deadlines.
Reading List
James Meyer, Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the 1960s (New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2001).
James Meyer ed., Minimalism: Themes and Perspectives (London: Phaidon, 2000).
Gregory Battcock ed., Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology (Berkeley; London: University of California Press, 1995).
Donald Judd: Complete Writings, 1959-1975 (Halifax: Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1975).
Hal Foster, 'The Crux of Minimalism', in Foster, The Return of the Real (Cambridge, Mass; London: MIT Press, 1996), pp. 35-68.
Jo Applin, Eccentric Objects: Rethinking Sculpture in 1960s America (London; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Visual and critical analysis;
Clear thinking and the development of an argument;
Independent research;
Presentation and communication skills;
Organization and planning.
KeywordsMinimalism,Objects,Space,Reduction,Interaction,Deskilling,Anti-expressivity,The Sixties
Course organiserDr Tamara Trodd
Tel: (0131 6)51 3120
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information