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Rethinking German Minimalism Symposium

Dia:Chelsea, November 10, 2021

Friday, November 12, 2021, 12:30–2:30 pm

Dia Chelsea

537 West 22nd Street New York, New York

On the occasion of Dia Beacon’s simultaneous presentation of works by Imi Knoebel, Charlotte Posenenske, and Franz Erhard Walther, this two-hour event brings together a new generation of artists and scholars to reconsider the classification of “German Minimalism,” a term that has been used to describe artistic practices that emerged in West Germany in the mid-1960s

Reflecting conceptual engagement—and sometimes direct contact—with Minimalist art from the United States, Knoebel, Posenenske, Walther, and many of their peers employed industrial materials and processes, a reduced geometric vocabulary, the serial repetition of forms, and an emphasis on embodied relationships to sculpture. However, the work of these German artists can also be distinguished in various ways from US Minimalism, which has traditionally been understood through the abstract theoretical discourse of phenomenology. Expanding beyond simple morphological comparison, this symposium considers defining features of Knoebel, Posenenske, and Walther’s practices that depart from United States models.

A panel of art historians and practicing artists will discuss an alternative historical view on German art of the 1960s and a new understanding of its relevance to artistic practices today. Speakers include Gordon Hall, Hanna B. Hölling, Colin Lang, Gregor Quack, Michael Sanchez, and Sung Tieu, with moderator Ian Wallace, 2020–21 Andrew M. Mellon Curatorial Fellow at Dia Art Foundation.

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