What is minimalism? La Monte Young said it’s “that which is created with a minimum of means.” Donald Judd described his own work as more than reduction. “You’re getting rid of the things that people used to think were essential to art.” Michael Fried denounced minimalism as theater, not art: it lies in wait, needing an audience. Sol LeWitt accused the elusive term of being “part of a secret language that art critics use when communicating with each other.”
The hard curves and angles of Albert Exergian‘s posters touch on these questions. For most, you don’t require much beyond the title to relish them. Young’s “minimum of means” is all the artist needs—and all you need. In one, the shape and pattern of lines point to liberty; in the other, color and composition suggest carnal knowledge.
I think Fried’s charge of theatricality illuminates what makes Exergian’s series tick. In the below images, theatricality is not a bad thing: you have to join the TV show’s audience to revel in the cleverness of these images. Belonging to that community, in on its jokes, feeling the jolts of recognition, fluent in the secret language, you share that extra source of delight. Peter Falk’s secret glass eye, Dexter’s microscope slides—they snappily unveil something essential about each show—the treachery of perception, the dark side of science. You get the picture.