Book Details
Author: Gail Hastings
Introduction: David Raskin
Publisher: Pigment Publisher
Publisher Place: Sydney
Language: English
Pages: 183
ISBN: 9780646940618 (ebook)
Specifications: An ebook for iBooks
Requirements: This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device. Multi-touch books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device. Books with interactive features may work best on an iOS device. iBooks on your Mac requires OS X 10.9 or later.

The Missing Space Project

Six Interviews

Released: 14 October 2015
Price: $4.99 AUD
Available at: Apple iBooks Store

Name-drop the word ‘space’ in a conversation with an artist, and you’ll be in their good books. That, though, is about as far as a conversation on space can go. Just the one word — space — and nothing more. It has been that way for more than fifty years, since Minimal art’s introduction of ‘actual space’ in the 1960s. It is important — curators, writers and art history lecturers keep telling us. It is historically significant. It is paradigm changing. Yet few can tell us how space works and what its differentiations are. 


The Missing Space Project aims to redress a lapse in recognising differentiated space in art. Differentiated space is the space art creates that is separate to while intermingled with the space in which we breathe and walk through. Introduced as ‘actual space’ as opposed to illusionistic space in the early 1960s by three-dimensional work otherwise called Minimal art, instead of an art historical pronouncement of the space, a jackhammer repetition of the word ‘reduction’ has defined the work, since. Still, today, reduction is stuttered like a tape recorder jammed in a phase-locked loop begging for release, for its mechanism to be rewound and replayed to a point beyond systematic failure. At that point we might hear the words reduction made silent these past fifty years. Words that articulate this work’s differentiated space. These six interviews debate the lack, its cause and the contemporary necessity of recognising differentiated space in this the Missing Space Project’s first stage.

The six interviews are with (in order of appearance):

curator Marianne Stockebrand (in Berlin)
Minimal art collector Egidio Marzona (in Berlin)
Minimal art anthologist Daniel Marzona (in Berlin)
art historian Gregor Stemmrich (in Berlin)
art historian Richard Shiff (in New York)
and curator Renate Wiehager (by correspondence);

With an introduction by Donald Judd expert David Raskin.

Reader Responses

In The Missing Space Project, Gail Hastings interviews six arts professionals whose involvement in minimal art and minimalism range from curating, collecting, and historical criticism. The scope of the conversations spans from mid-twentieth century precursors to contemporary iterations of “minimal” art, and across the Atlantic between Europe and the Americas, often focusing on Donald Judd’s work in particular. The discussions are directed at identifying and attempting to remedy two problems within the discourse of minimalism: the disservice posed by the term “reduction”, a generalising word that implies a shared process by all artists involved, yet fails to provide a full, nuanced account of the art being produced; and the lack of attention paid to the quality of space-as-medium (art made of space, as opposed to art in space). As the title of the project indicates, the space is missing — lacking in art-historical discourse, and physically invisible, or in the negative.

In an effort to address the problem of generality and to make the invisible visible in words, Hastings probes the interviewees to speak about the significance of particulars. For example, she and Marianne Stockebrand contrast specific works within Judd’s oeuvre, early vs. late, and attempt to understand the differences in the articulation of space in both works. The other interviewees follow with discussions of specific exhibitions, specific exhibition spaces, specific texts, specific words. The major problems that Hastings exposes, fruitfully touched upon by both Gregor Stemmrich and Richard Shiff, relate to the acts of writing and interpretation, processes themselves that are reductive in nature. To get at the missing space is to get as close as possible to experience. Space is a “situation”, as Stemmrich posits, and is therefore experienced. And as Shiff cautions, a text could easily become a guide, even when an artist in question intends to emphasise a particular experience. Nonetheless, The Missing Space Project presents useful avenues for redirecting the discourse surrounding minimal art and minimalism by posing these specific problems. In this way, far from being reductive, the book presents a path for productive scholarship.

Jessamine Batario
Dedalus Foundation Fellow 2015-16, Doctoral Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin

Minimal Art looks very simple — but appearances are deceptive. So it is time for a refreshing new, close and sensitive look. “THE MISSING SPACE” creates the space for a different approach to different artists. Through six stimulating conversations, words open a world of new aesthetic dimensions. With a focus on Minimal Art, the vivid interviews provide a maximum of themes and thoughts never named before. This book is not about art, it is art itself: With sense and sensibility “THE MISSING SPACE” pays homage to the masterpieces and masterminds of Minimal Art. So it’s a page-turner for all art-aficionados. Read it and you’ll love it.

Dr. Rainer Weber
Collector, Ludwigshafen

Gail Hastings approaches the topic both as an artist and a researcher: Her questions are as profound and intellectually challenging, as they are truly open-minded. That the interview partners do not always confirm her conclusions makes the reading experience all the more thought-provoking and inspiring. In the course of the interviews, new insights are gained instead of an exchange of preconceived or elsewhere published points of view. This opens new perspectives on a chapter art history erroneously thinks it has sufficiently covered, and unfolds many unsolved problems and unanswered questions around the term ‘space’.

Dr. Annika Wienert
Research assistant at the Faculty of Architecture, TU München

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This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.