Richard Tuttle, Cloth Piece (Octagon), 1968
Often working in multipart print series, Richard Tuttle (American, b. 1941) created the set of sixteen prints in Cloth (2002-05) over a four-year period. For the project, the artist began with one rudimentary element—in this case, fabric—and incorporated different pieces in each of the prints. Further enhanced by Tuttle’s modulated marks, gestures, and patterns, the set suggests an explosion of color, motif, and materials.
Richard Tuttle was born in Rahway, New Jersey in 1941, and lives and works in New Mexico and New York.
He received a BA from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. Although most of Tuttle’s prolific artistic output since he began his career in the 1960s has taken the form of three-dimensional objects, he commonly refers to his work as drawing rather than sculpture, emphasizing the diminutive scale and idea-based nature of his practice.
He subverts the conventions of modernist sculptural practice (defined by grand heroic gestures, monumental scale, and the ‘macho’ materials of steel, marble, and bronze) and instead creates small, eccentrically playful objects in decidedly humble, even ‘pathetic’ materials such as paper, rope, string, cloth, wire, twigs, cardboard, bubble wrap, nails, Styrofoam, and plywood. Tuttle also manipulates the space in which his objects exist, placing them unnaturally high or oddly low on a wall, forcing viewers to reconsider and renegotiate the white-cube gallery space in relation to their own bodies. Tuttle uses directed light and shadow to further define his objects and their space.
Influences on his work include calligraphy (he has a strong interest in the intrinsic power of line), poetry, and language. A lover of books and printed matter, Tuttle has created artist’s books, collaborated on the design of exhibition catalogues, and is a consummate printmaker.
Richard Tuttle received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture. He has had one-person exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; ICA Philadelphia; Kunsthaus Zug, Switzerland; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela; and the Museu Serralvesin, Porto, Portugal. SFMoMA is the organizer of a 2005 Tuttle retrospective.
As a highlight of its 2005 exhibition schedule, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present The Art of Richard Tuttle from July 2 through October 16, 2005. The first full-scale retrospective of this influential American contemporary artist�s oeuvre, the exhibition brings together more than three hundred significant works from collections worldwide and unifies Tuttle�s four-decade career in the most comprehensive presentation of his work ever mounted.
Explore Richard Tuttle's eclectic, forty-year career through video of the artist at work, the varied responses of his critics, and artworks that defy conventional notions of material, form, process, and craft. This multimedia feature was produced in conjunction with the exhibition The Art of Richard Tuttle, on view July 2 through October 16, 2005.
This feature works best with high-bandwidth Web access
The Art of Richard Tuttle is on view at the Whitney through February 5, 2006.
Update: Browsing the WPS1 archives, I came across this interview (Real Player required) with the show's curator David Kiehl. Jump forward to 21:25 of the stream to hear Kiehl discuss the installation.
Track 4 of the podcast guide to “The Art of Richard Tuttle,” featuring gallery-by-gallery commentary by Madeleine Grynsztejn, Elise S. Haas Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture, SFMOMA.