Drawing in the City

In one of my earlier posts I included a piece by Morellet in what looks like a sculpture park. Theoretically that image encapsulates my views; it shows the human construction of the grid surrounded by the much greater complexity of nature. In fact the image is very thought provoking. However, at this moment I can’t quite free myself from Smithson’s ridicule of the sculpture park, included in his criticism of the 1972 Documenta, and I do think that the city is a more interesting place to put sculpture. In that setting, straight lines, right angles and regular curves seem to make more sense. This piece by Morellet is charming, albeit a little slight. Though we could call it sculpture of a very reduced type, it is definitely drawing, and that it is drawing but could still be called sculpture is probably its best feature. Morellet does have a history of breaking regular shapes at ninety degrees, and that is a useful technique and makes an attractive work, but the piece has a passivity that follows from its origin in a ready-made.


François Morellet, Arcs de cercle complémentaires, Toulouse 1983

The location is great, the gesture is intelligent; I have no quarrel with it but I think we can do better.

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