Post-minimalism is a term utilised in various artistic fields for work which is influenced by, or attempts to develop upon the work of Minimalism. The expression is used specifically in relation to music and the visual arts, but can also be employed in any field by which the subject is said to use Minimalism as a critical reference point.
In visual art it refers specifically to artists whom utilise Minimalism either as an aesthetic or conceptual reference point from which to develop. The term does not refer to a particular movement but rather an artistic tendency. Post-minimalist artwork is often associated or confused with conceptual art; frequently a work or artist can be described as both, as it is this conceptual element which regularly distinguishes it from Minimalism. Artworks often transpose reference to everyday objects or functions onto the austerely formalist approach of their predecessors. However with such a diverse and disparate group of artists there are no definite correlations.
Examples of such work include pieces such as Water-Tower by Rachel Whiteread whereby the inside of a water-tower is cast in clear resin and displayed where the original tower stood. The purity of form found in Minimalism is used, but through the application of the commonplace. An earlier example would be Eva Hesse, a artist whom developed the themes of ‘the grid’ and ‘seriality’ so often found in Minimalism but through the obvious hand made approach of her works introduced an element of the human missing in the habitually machine or custom made products of Minimalism. Another variant is found in the work of such artists as Tom Friedman whereby an absurdity and humour is introduced. With Untitled of 1992, Friedman asked a witch to curse the space above a gallery pedestal, as such displaying to the unknowing viewer simply the paradigmatic Minimalist white cube, but with the knowledge of its production comes further understanding. As such there is an initial formalist response to the piece’s structure; secondly there is a conceptual response. This is typical of a Post-Minimalist approach to art production.