Magazine article Artforum International

Richard Tuttle: THE PACE GALLERY

Magazine article Artforum International

Richard Tuttle: THE PACE GALLERY

Article excerpt

"What's the Wind" was a little startling coming from Richard Tuttle, an artist famous for artmaking delicate enough to spark the story that people have walked in and out of a roomful of his work believing the space was empty. The critic Robert Storr once titled an essay on Tuttle "Touching Down Lightly"; in this show, the artist touched down pretty-heavily, making six large, awkward conglomerations of bright-colored, often scrappy-looking components, all set solidly on the floor, all around eight or nine feet square, the tallest reaching to sixteen feet high. Tuttle is actually quite comfortable with scale, having made fairly sizable works, some of them robust enough to be installed outdoors. In fact, even his most fragile and insubstantial pieces may activate entire spaces. Still, in seeming to move in the direction of an artist like Jessica Stockholder, the works in "What's the Wind" surprised.

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And yet these works are completely recognizable as Richard Tuttle. I said "awkward" but that's not really so--better to say they play with awkwardness but pass through it to the other side. Line in Tuttle's work has special vagaries: Even when apparently or deliberately happenstance, or dictated by qualities inherent in its materials, it has a clunky elegance, and its uneven rhythms seem to acquire philosophical weight. Alternately regular and ungainly, swollen and attenuated, soft and hard, the shapes and surfaces of these new works play absorbing games.

All of the works use the word system in their titles, suggesting both a methodicalness in their facture and an interrelatedness among their parts. Indeed, none of these works is an integral object, all comprising a scaffolding--structurally similar to one another, each an implicitly or explicitly square base with four equal verticals rising either from its corners or from the midpoint of each side--that support a range of stuff. …

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