The term “Minimal Art” – minimal art – was coined in 1965 by the English philosopher Richard Wollheim. He used it to describe a kind of contemporary work of art, where the aesthetic effect is very paradoxically based on an absence of art content. The “ready-mades” of Duchamp were a good example of this. The importance of Duchamp in this respect had to do with the significance of his “ready-mades” for aesthetic thinking about the object itself as an essential component of art. By presenting a urinal and a bottle rack as examples of “ready-made” art, Duchamp reduced both the artist’s personal intervention and the value of artistic craftsmanship.
He gave purely functional objects an aesthetic value by simply making their own choice, instead of teaching them handicrafts. What he wanted to demonstrate was that the making of art could take place under different conditions than only on the basis of arbitrarily chosen, tastefully arranged forms. The minimal artists, in turn, introduced the standard size, with its series of possibilities as an all-embracing work. Almost immediately this term came into use with art critics as a fitting label for a special kind of extremely simplified sculptures that were made in America at the time.