The Fluxists’ conceptualism, which predated mine, was influenced by Duchamp. My thinking was a reaction to theirs. As far as Minimalism goes, I don’t think it existed as an idea at all. It was only a stylistic reaction to the rhetoric of Abstract Expressionism. It was self-defeating, because simplicity of form could only go so far. It ended once the simplest form was achieved—exemplified by Robert Morris’s installation of polyhedrons at Green Gallery in 1964, or Rauschenberg’s white paintings, though of course Robert Ryman can still do white paintings of great depth and inspiration. In my case, I used the elements of these simple forms—square, cube, line and color—to produce logical systems. Most of these systems were finite; that is, they were complete using all possible variations. This kept them simple.
The system is the work of art; the visual work of art is the proof of the system. The visual aspect can’t be understood without understanding the system. It isn’t what it looks like but what it is that is of basic importance.
Below are 2 examples of Sol LeWitt’s drawing instructions. I plan to do a series of projects (both personal and collaborative) in 2017 based on his instructions. It will be interested to see how far these instructions can take me.
“Using a black, hard crayon draw a twenty inch square. Divide this square into one inch squares. Within each one inch square, draw nothing or draw a diagonal straight line from corner to corner or two crossing straight lines diagonally from corner to corner.”
“Using pencil, draw 1,000 random straight lines 10 inches long each day for 10 days, in a 10-by-10-foot square.”