The artists involved in Minimalism from 1966 to the late 1970's include a select few: Don Judd, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre, Robert Morris, and Frank Stella. Their aesthetic values came primarily from the work of Frank Stella, who started his journey into Minimal art in 1959 when he exhibited a series of four works, all paintings that consisted of nothing but a series of stripes. His work encouraged other artists to repeat his simple and repetitive style, and they soon began applying these and other new principles primarily to sculpture.

Marcel Duchamp, a Dadaist, also had some importance in the development of Minimal Art. Duchamp proposed that the object could be contributed to a well-organized and tasteful manipulation of sculpture. From this idea, many Minimalists formulated the ideas of sending away for fluorescent lights or pre-manufactured boxes outside of the studio environment.

Eventually, all these ideas came together collectively in 1966. At first, most critics wondered how this could be considered art, and they found it hard to accept the Minimalists. While they may have shocked and jeered the public then, by 1972 the artists were being taken more seriously.

Leo Steinberg stated "its blankness and secrecy, its impersonal or industrial, its simplicity and tendency to project a stark minimum of decisions, its radiance and power and scale. These become recognizable as a kind of content: expressive, communicative, and eloquent in their own way."