Minimal and Conceptual Art

William Anastasi

United States 1933

Minimal Art, Conceptual Art

William Anastasi
William Anastasi
United States
May 13, 2017
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

William Anastasi is concerned as one of the pioneers in conceptualism and minimalism. He is famous for his Subway, Pocket, and Walking drawings that explore the autonomy and functions of the artistic objects. The artist has established a very interesting and intriguing approach in which he investigates the relationship between the sound and sight, by making blind artworks with eyes closed while listening to the music. His interdisciplinary practice includes paintings, sculptures, photography, and installations. The site-specific locations allow different environments to determine certain elements of creations. The large influence on him has the interest in meditation and everyday experiences that inspire him more than the usual catchy objects.

William Anastasi like new paper works in philadelphia contact gallery work view 2012
William Anastasi – Untitled 1, Subway Drawing

William Anastasi’s Beginnings

The artist was born in 1933 in Philadelphia where he grew up. When he was 12 he attended his first art class at a school, where his picture was chosen as the best one of the day. As he says in an interview, his mother had an idea, ever since he was little that the best thing he could be in life is to become an artist. In the early 1960’s he moves to New York. Here he got to know with Marcel Duchamp’s theoretical approach to art making. William is also known for playing chess with his peer John Cage, but also for exploring the relationship between human and its recording mechanisms through the use of visual arts and sound. At the beginning, he used to draw abstract art that was on his mind.

William is also known for playing chess with his peer John Cage

William Anastasi gallery work view exhibition
William Anastasi – Untitled 2, Subway Drawing


In 1961 Anastasi created Relief and Microphone, which in some way represent the first examples of Conceptual Art. After that between 1963 and 1966, he made Sink, Issue, and Trespass– works that include deconstruction. En Route is one of the first steps to Minimal Art. His other pieces like Microphone or Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony include auditory elements, in which tape recorder records its own music. As mentioned before, William gives a lot of attention to meditation and the movement, so he developed the series that include both, letting the motion of train to transform lines onto paper. The Walking drawings gave him an idea and freedom to use movement as the energy for the paintings. From this point, he developed his Subway and Pocket drawings as a continuation of the previous.

William gives a lot of attention to meditation and the movement

William Anastasi american love drawing work and works 2012
William Anastasi – Perfect, Yellow (Left) / Perfect, Black and White (Right)

Awards, Lectures, and Exhibitions

In 2010 Anastasi was awarded The John Cage Award, from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Between 1984 and 1990 the artist was appointed Artistic Advisor to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company with Dove Bradshaw. He also gave lectures at the School of Visual Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the University of Pennsylvania. Author’s works were part of the exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and Leubsdorf Art Gallery in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, among other places.

He lives and creates in New York, USA.

Featured image: William Anastasi – Portrait – Photo via
All other images copyright of the artist; All images used for illustrative purposes only

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014On View #5Stalke Galleri / Stalke Out Of Space /, Kirke SaabyGroup
2014The Disappearance of the firefliesCollection Lambert, AvignonGroup
2014Moving Parts: Time and Motion in Contemporary ArtKemper Art Museum, Saint Louis, MOGroup
2014For Each Gesture Another CharacterArt Stations Foundation by Grażyna Kulczyk, PoznanGroup
2013William Anastasi: Sound Works, 1963–2013Leubsdorf Art Gallery - Hunter College, New York City, NYSolo
2013Something More Than a Succession of NotesJustina M Barnicke Gallery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ONGroup
2013On View #3Stalke Galleri / Stalke Out Of Space /, Kirke SaabyGroup
2013Too Cool To LoseIKON Ltd, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2013Too Big or Not Too BigThomas Brambilla, BergamoGroup
2013A Stone Left UnturnedYvon Lambert - Paris, ParisGroup
2013Now Here is also Nowhere: Part IIHenry Art Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2013Processing the EverydayKrannert Art Museum, Champaign, ILGroup
2013The Forgotten InstinctLabor, Mexico CityGroup
2012GraphologyArt Exchange, ColchesterGroup
201250 for ArkansasArkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, ARGroup
2012Pencil PushedEwing Gallery of Art and Architecture, Knoxville, TNGroup
2012Word Symbol SpaceThe Jewish Museum of New York, New York City, NYGroup
2012Explosion! - Painting in ActionModerna Museet, StockholmGroup
2012Blind HoleThomas Brambilla, BergamoGroup
2011ON VIEW #1Stalke Galleri / Stalke Out Of Space /, Kirke SaabyGroup
2011Art=Text=Art: Works by Contemporary ArtistsJoel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art - University of Richmond, Richmond, VAGroup
2011Plot : Plan : ProcessLeslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York City, NYGroup
2011Broken Fall (Organic)Galleria Enrico Astuni - Bologna, BolognaGroup
2011Lonely At The Top: Graphology Chapter 1MuHKA Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, AntwerpGroup
2010William Anastasi - DrawingsSandra Gering Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2010The Poulsen X-Mas Show 2010Gallery poulsen Contemporary Fine Arts, CopenhagenGroup
2010Space InvasionNiels Borch Jensen Galerie & Verlag, BerlinGroup
2010The Moon is an Arrant ThiefThe David Roberts Art Foundation, LondonGroup
2009William Anastasi – Paintings, Small Works, DrawingsGalleria Mazzoli - Arte Contemporana, ModenaSolo
2008William Anastasi - Opposites Are IdenticalPeter Blum Gallery - Chelsea, New York City, NYSolo
2007William Anastasi - RawThe Drawing Center, New York City, NYSolo
2006William Anastasi – You’re ThroughBaumgartner Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2006William Anastasi - Works From The 60’s To The PresentBjörn Ressle Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2005William Anastasi - BlindArt Agents Gallery, HamburgSolo
2004William Anastasi - me altar's egoeSlought Foundation, Philadelphia, PASolo
2001A RetrospectiveKunsthallen Nikolaj, CopenhagenSolo
2000William Anastasi - Stalke Out Of Space no, 25A Stalke Galleri / Stalke Out Of Space /, Kirke SaabySolo
1999William Anastasi "Perfect"Galleri Specta, CopenhagenSolo
1999William Anastasi - PerfectStalke Galleri / Stalke Out Of Space /, Kirke SaabySolo