Born in New York City, Pincus-Witten earned his undergraduate degree at The Cooper Union, in New York City in 1956. He wrote his master's degree (1962) and Ph.D. (1968) both at the University of Chicago. His dissertation, on Joséphin Péladan and the Salon de la Rose + Croix was written under Joshua Taylor and John Rewald.
In 1966 he began writing criticism for Artforum magazine as its senior editor. He became associate editor of Artforum in 1976.
An initial book on minimalism and the era following it was issued in 1977. His collected art criticism was published as Eye to Eye: Twenty Years of Art Criticism, in 1984. His treatise on post-modern art, Postminimalism into Maximalism: American Art 1966-1986, appeared in 1987. Postminimalism is an art term coined (as "post-minimalism") by Pincus-Witten in 1971 used in various artistic fields for work which is influenced by, or attempts to develop and go beyond, the aesthetic of minimalism.
Pincus-Witten curated art shows for the Gagosian Gallery (East) in New York City, until 1996. That same year he joined the staff of C&M Arts (Mnuchin Fine Arts), New York City as Director of Exhibitions and then retired after eleven years.
On July 3, 2013, Pincus-Witten and Leon Hecht were married in NYC.
- Postminimalism. New York: Out of London Press, 1977
- Entries (Maximalism): Art at the Turn of the Decade
- New York: Out of London Press, 1983; and Armstrong, Richard, and Hanhardt, John G.
- The New Sculpture 1965–75: between Geometry and Gesture. 1976
- New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1990
- Postminimalism into Maximalism: American Art, 1966–1986. Ann Arbor, MI : UMI Research Press, 1987
- Eye to Eye: Twenty Years of Art Criticism, Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1984.
Notes and references
- NY Times obituary
- Artnews obituary
- ArtForum, Robert Pincus-Witten, 1935-2018
- Chilvers, Ian and Glaves-Smith, John, A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art, second edition (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 569. ISBN 0199239665.
- Kristine Stiles & Peter Selz, Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists' Writings (Second Edition, Revised and Expanded by Kristine Stiles) University of California Press 2012, p. 687