Edit: See: Suprematism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suprematism), De Stijl (though they liked bold colors) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Stijl), arguably Bauhaus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauhaus), "International Style" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_style_(architectu... ), all of which came before the increased business in art of the 40s-60s, which came before "Minimalism" proper in ~1965. And this is primarily in America & Europe - other areas have had their blends as well.
All of which was pretty heavily influenced by the traditional Japanese aesthetic, which has a pretty strong focus on Minimalism-like attributes.
Minimalism as a positive thing isn't just reactionary. It also serves to bring subtle details into focus, and to emphasize the craft (ie, crafter's experience / quality) as a whole rather than individual details.