Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Contemporary Art

First Advisor

Morgan Falconer


The 1960s and 1970s saw a radical change in the way artists thought about and created artwork. Specifically, the artists comprising the movements of Minimalism and California Light and Space shifted the focus of their work from the art object itself to the experience of the viewer. The true medium of the work made by artists such as Donald Judd, Robert Morris, James Turrell, Doug Wheeler, and Robert Irwin was the perception of the artwork’s viewer. This focus on perception has had a lasting impact on artists of the 21st century, including Olafur Eliasson, Ann Veronica Janssens, and Mona Hatoum. This thesis aims to analyze the work of these Minimalist, Light and Space, and 21st century artists, exploring how and why they have created work that centers around the embodied perception of the viewer, especially given the context of the time in which they were working. Ultimately, this thesis will seek to highlight the groundbreaking nature of the work that came out of Minimalism and Light and Space, and how it has continued to shape the art production that occurs today.