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ond Obiecthood 117

and in fact bas been Iormulat€d by some of its leading prac-


If this distinguishes it from modemist paiDting and sculp-
on the one haad, it also marl$ an importast difierenc€ between
ARTANDOBJECTHOOD*
byMichoelFriea Art----or, as I prefe. to call it, litetarit afi----and Pop or OP
on the other. From its inception, literalist aft Las amountd to
more tla! an episod€ in th€ history of taste. It belongs
In this essly Michael Fri€d criticLe,, Minimat Art- or 6 he ca s ir. to the bitory-almost ttre nattrdl history-of sensibility; and
"literalisC' lrt-for what he desoibes as its inhercnt theatricrlitv. At tlr
qmF ume. Ie Jrgucs thdt tic modemisr !rt!. iactuding paining rr"l is not an isolated episode but tbe expression of a general and
! ulpture.l,ave comc incrFasinglyto depend for 6eir very conrjnua,r, cotrdition. Its seiousness is vouched for by the {act that it
on their ibility to d4par rh".be. Fried characteria rh; |-hqtrical ,,, in relatiod both to modemist painting and modemist sculpture
rems ot a pgticular rebtion bcr$ een the beholdFr 6 $b/?ct and t1.,. literalist art defles or locat€s the positioD it aspnes to occupy
wtk .it oqict- a rchtion tbat lales place in rime, rhat bs duratiu,, is, I suggest, is what makes what it declares som-ething that
Wh6e6 defclting theatree',raih deferringor suspendingbot-hobiecthoo,t to be ca[ed a position.) Speciffcally, literalist art conceivet
Fried was born in t\'ew York City in 1939. }le took his B.A. ar of itsef as neitbs on€ nor tle otherj on the conEary, it is mothat€d
hinceton Udversity.md was a Rhodes Sc.holar at MertoD Colteg€, Or. !y speciGcreservations, or worse, about both; and it aspir€s,Perhaps
f.rd. He is a ContrihurDs Edrtor tor Alrlorun. ud he organ;ed rt, lot exacdy, or not immediately, to disPlace them, but in any cose
TItr. Ahc can Paintcruexhibirion at the Fogg Arr Vuse;, HdN,.,,l to establishitself as an ind€p€ndent art on fl footing $'itl either.
Uni\F6it). in 1985. Hc is curendy a Junio;-FeIow in rhe H.w3,,l The literalist caseagainst painting rests mainly on two counts: the
ioral character of almost all painting; and the ubiquitousness,
the virtuel iDescapability, of picto al illusion- In Donald

Edwards's toumals frequendy exploed and tested a meditation h. wher you start relating parts, in the ffIst Plac€, you'rc assuming
seldom allowcd to reach print; if all the world were annibilated, h{, you have a vague rvhole-the rectangle of the canvas----andde6-
wote . . . and a new world were freshly created, though it werc to nite pans, which is a[ soewed up, bccause you should heve a
exist in ev€ry particular in the sarnemanner as this Eorl4 it llr'ouftl defnite il)hols end maybe no parts, or very few l
not be the same. Ther€fore, becaue there is conriDuity, which is rThis Ms saldby JuddiD an int€triw with Btucecloser,edit€dbv Lucv
tnne, it is ccrtain with me that tle world edsrs anew every mo- L r,ippardmd publishedas 'Questions to Stellaand Judd," At Neod,Vol
ment; tlat the existence of things every moment c€asesand is evcry lXV, No. t S6"t@bs 1966.The ItlrELr othibut€din the pres€nt€ssovto
Judd rnd Moris lEvc het taLeo trem tb& intewiN fr@ Judds 65av SDe-
moment rcnewcd.' The abidiDg assunnce is that 'we ever). moment cGc Obiets. Attt fqrbook. No. 8. 1965, or fr@ Roberr Nlorb.s esvs.
see t}le same proof of a God as we should have seen if we had seen "Not6 d Solpturc' @d "Note m soipturc, Patt 2," publish€d in Att'
Him create thc rvorld at 6rst."-Perry l{iller, Ioruttun Ed.wads ,orn, vol IV, No. O, f€bmey 1966, snd Vol. 5, No. 2, Octobd 1966' re{Ec-
nve&- (1 hlG also tala ore lfut by Motis f!@ ihe ataloguc io the
lrhibitiotr -!:iaht Solpto^: tlF Ambieuous Imsge, held al the W,lker Art
I Centd. Odob;FDce;bs 1966.r I add that in laving oul shat seos
The enterprise known variously as Minimal Art, ABC Arq Prirnary 'hould
to @ ihe posiHon ludd and Mord hotd in comon I }av€ ielored vdlouj
Structues, and Spcciffc Objects is largely ideologcal. It seeks to difieMc between th@. and hav€ ued eenain lennrls in contdts fo. ivhich
declare and occupy i position--, one that can be formulated in they may Dot hove bee! ilt€nd€d. Mor€ove., I lave not alwavs ildicated which
of thm achDlly soid d wt€ a pdtidlar phdse; lhe altenative vould have
r Reprintedfrom Artlrmrr, Iurc, 196'7. be€n to litter the lext vith f@rnotcs.
liichoel Fried ll8 9

The more the sbape of the spport is emphasized, as in rcccrrl tle rvorlc" (They would include the \r"ork of Dayid Smirh
modcmist painting, the tights the situation b€.Dmes: Anthony Carc uiler tlis description.) It is worth r€marki:rg
the 'part-hy-part" and "rclational" character of mo$t sculpture
The etementsinside the rcctangle are broad and simple aDd cor
associated by ludd wit]l what he calls anthrcnomowhtcm: 'A
respond closely to the rcctangle. The shapesand su ac€ are onl)
tlrusts; a piece of iron follolvs a gesture; togethcr they form a
thosc that can occul plausibll' s'ithin and on a rettangular planc
naturalistic and antlropomorphic image. The space corresponils."
The pars are ferv and so s"bordimlc lo unity rs Dot to be prrt\
jn en ordinary sense. A pa'nting is rcarly an entity, one thing. such 'multipart, infl€cted' sculpture Judd and Monis asset
values of *'holeness, singlen€ss,and indivisibility---o{ a work's
and not tbe hdefiDable sum of a $oup of entities and rcferenccs.
as nearly as possible, "one thing," a single "Specific Objecr."
The one thing overpowe$ the earlier painting. It also establishr's
Monis devotes considerable aftcnrion to 'lthe use of strung gestalt
ihe rect:tngte as a dcffnite {olm: it js no longcr a fairly neutiil
limit. A form can be used only tu so many ways The rectau- or of unitary-type foms to avoid divisiveness"; whilc Judd is chiefly
gu)ar p)ane it given a life span. The simplicity required to en lnterested in the *ind of wholenessthat can be achieved tbroueh the
phasjzethc rectanglelimits the anangementsPossiblclvithin iL repetitionof identical units. The order at work in his pieces.-oshe
onc€ remarkedot ltral in Stelta'ssb'ipe paintings."is simply order.
Pabting is here seen as an att oD the vcrge of exhausuon, one itr like that of continuity, one t}ing after another." For both Judd and
which thc rangc of acceptabte solutions to a basic problem-how tir Mords, however, the citical factm is srkp?. Morris's "unitary forms"
org&nizethe surfac€ of the pictuFis severelylcstricted The use ol lre polyLedrons tlat resist being grasped other than as a single
shaped rather tban rectangular supports can, frcm the literalist poilt shape: the gestalt simply ir the'oonstan! knol'n shape." And shape
of view, merely prolong the agony. The obr-ious responseb to 8i\( itsef 4 in his system, -the nost important sculptural value." Simi-
up working on a singl€ plane in favor of tlree dim€nsions. That, larly, qeaking of his ow'n work, Judd has remarked that
moreo\,cr. automaticallY
rhe big Foblem is that anything that is not absolutely plain be-
gcts rid of the problem of ilusionism and of literal space,sPaceirr gils to have parts itr some *ay. The thing is to be able to work
and around marks and colors-rvhic.h is riddanc€ of one oI th. and do difierent things aad yet not break up the wholenessthat a
salient and most objectionable relics of Euopean art. The several piece has. To me the piece with the br3ss and the ffve verticals is
limits of printing are no longer Fesent. A vo.k can be as powcr- elnve allthat shaoe.
fttl rs it can bc tlought to bc. Actual space is inirinsically morc
poNerful nnd spcciGcthan paint oDa flat sudace. sbape ie the object: at any mte, what secures the wholeness of
object is the siDglenessof the shape. It is, I believ€, this empha-
The literrtist attitude toward sculpture is more ambiguorrs. Judd. sis on shape that acoDunts{or the impression, which numerous crit-
for c'xuryrle, s€emi to think o{ what h€ calls Specific Objects as ics have mentioned, ttrat Judd s and Moris's pieces arc hollou,
somcthi g othcr thnn sculpture, while Robert Moris c'onceivesol
his own unmistrkably titeralist work as rcsuming rhe lapseil tradi- tl
tion o{ Constructivist sculpture established by Tatlin, Rodchenko, Shape has also been cenhal to th€ most impotant painting of the
Cabo, Pevsner, and Vantongerloo But this and other disagreements Past several years. In sev€ral recent essays2I bave tried to show
are less impoltant thnD the viervs Judd and l{orris hold in common
Above all thcy are opposed to sculpture that, like most painting' is as Fom: rraDk srelai Ns painringr,,, Arrl@D, Vol, V, No. 3,
"'Shape
ov@ba r968j "Jur6 Olftski," tbe @t losue iDrroduction ro an erhibition of
"made part by pnrt. by addition, composed" and in wbich 'specifc In; wqk at the Cd@m caltery, wshinsron, D.C., April-Jue, l967j and
elcments . . . separate from tbe $'hole, thus setting up relationships "Bolald Davis: sulhe dd m6id," A'rtoM, Vol. V, No. 8, April 1967.
120

ho{, in the wor} of:iotaDd, Olitski. and Sieltr. a conflicthas gradu-


ally emcrgedbcNeen shapcas a fundanrcntatproperty of objccl\
and sLapcas a of paintilg. Roughh, the successor frilurc
'ncdiun
of a gi\€n painting has comc to depeDdon iis ability to hold or
stampitsel{ out or compelconvntion as shape-tl)it, or somcho$to
staveoS or eludc the qucstionof *hethcr or rot it doesso. Olitsli\
early spraypaiDtnrgsare the purcst erample of paintingsthat cithfr
hold or fait to hold as shapcs;Nhilc in his more rccent pi.turcs, tt\
rvell as in thc bestof Noland's:rnd stelh's recent \rork, thc denran(]
that a gilen pichre hold 1lssh.rpeis stavedofi or eluded in variorr\
rvays.\\4rat is at stakc in this confict is $hcthcr the paintings or
objcctsin qucstionarc expericncedas paintnrgsor as objccts: ar
what deciclcsthejr idcntit) as |ditirtrg is thcir conlronting of thf
demandthat thcy l,old as shaPesOthenvisedrey are erlerienccd rs
nothing ore than objc.is. This crn bc sun rcd up b)'saving thrt
modemistp^inting h.rscone to 6nd it imperatir.ctbat it defeat or
suspendits own objecthood,rnd that the crucialfactor jn this undcf Anrhony Coro, Benni^st6h.1964- $eel pdinted block. 3'4" x 13' x ll'. ln rhe
taking is sliape,but shrpe that must belong to /tdinting-it must l!' .olrectionof lules Olitski, Phorosrdphcourt€ry ot Andre Emmeri(hGolery, New
pictolirl, not, or not merel),,litcral Whercrs litcralist art stakcs
evcrything on shapeas a given propert! of obiccts,if not, ind.o(].
as a kind of obicct in its o$'t) right. Ir rspircs, not to defcat ol
suspendits o$n obiecthood,but on the contrar)'to discover:rn(l
pmject objectlroodas such.
AnrhonyCoro; Flox. 1966.Sreelpoinredblue. 2'1" r 6'9" x 5'4". In the .ollection
In his essay lcccntness of Sclllphre" Cleme:rt Creenberg dis ol Mr. ond Mre, fienry Feiwel. Photosroph.ou esy of Andre EmmerichGollery,
cussesthc cf(ict of p'cr€n.{],wl)ich, fronr thc start, has been associ
ated with ljtcnlist $ork.3 This cornesup in conncctionNith thc
srcrk of Arno Truitt. m artist Creenbergbclicves anticipatedt))('
literalists( h. crlls tldr \ Iinnn.lists) :
Truiit s irt (li(l llirt with t}c look of non-alt, and her 1963sho$
was tbc firsl ir \lhiclr I roti(c'd ho$ this look corld confcr rl
cfect of p,r'v,ir. Tlat prcseDccas achicved through size $ri
acstheticrlh (\lnntous, I alrcadl' lncs'. That presence r\
achieYedthroruh thc lool' of non art slls likesise aestheticill\
3 PubLish.d nr tlr car,Ll,)(ur t,, the Los Anseles Count-w\'l$em of r\n '
rxl'ibition, .ADeriQn sculphtu oI ile Sixti6.,'lhc verb proiEf tu I hr!'
jlrt urd it is trkrn fronr (irq)hrJrs sratement The osrensibleaim of 1lr
Nlinimalhh is b lroject ol)j,ds N(l d,semblesof objoch th.t arc just nuds,
d o.d Obiecihood 't23

.\trxneo,,s. I did noi !et kDo(. T itt\ sculpturc had diis knrd of

I
"1 pres.nc. bnt dnl not lrirle b.hind it- Th;rt scrlphrre could hkl€
hchind it-jusi
rc.luanri,ln.e $jih
rs panrtiDs did t {ound oui only aftcr rcpcited
i \ l h i n l l 1 l \o r ks
.\rdre s, Sienicr's, somc but rot dll of SmiihsoD s. sone but not dl
ol Le\\'iit's. \finnlal ld.irn.lso
o f a r ti Ju d d s, \l o d si .

hidc behilrl pr.sencc xs sizc: I

I
thinl ol Bladcrr lthough I dm Dot su.c whethor lie is a certined
\ l i n i N ) l i s t l : 1 s\ . l l r s o f \ o n i c o f th c:u ti si s j u st m e n ti o n .cl .

Itcvrcc c.lD be .o|fened l)! sizc or by the look of non art. Frrther-

1 inrc. \'hrt DoD-nrt rn.rrns tocld), and hs n{:rnt for scveral ).cars.
ir fxirl\
*rotc thii
lrrre-
speci6.. ID "\fier
r ltr.ichcd
,\Lstrrct Evressionisn Creenberg
or t..le.l up .anvas alre,r.lrr e\ists as ,r pic,
though not necess.rrih as a .r,r.c.sst, oDe.! For that reison,
1 4:1? r
r,'thd r\hnr.{t li\tirer\iori.
," 1,1h rtrdridn,l, \ii vI, r_o.8. O.rober
:5. lglil. !.ll) IlirD.'sigeii.D \l]nh thir hd been rrle. rErd\ r\ f.llo*r:

t'ul'J tle te\ln,g ,)f nb(L isn no.. Dd norr of ih€ .onrentjons .f ihe
Ii .f prirl s i.trc ,l${r lhrn\olver t. be di.red\rbl.. nness.nri,l. llut
ro$ it li.,s L..n rnrblished, it \dnl,l icrn. thri rle rred!.iblc crier.c of
: -' firluriil .tri .oBnts i', Lut ttro .!.rtitltive ..rtr ertionJ or.omrr flarDess
":+:i::::: and rlir,lrlinritxhoD of nrbes\r rnd thrt rie obs-.rv.n(e of ntrolw tbese
x {0 " x ! O " i '
D onold lu dd , u nritle d 19 66. G olv oniz edr r eel. E. c h box , 40 " hro romx j\ ero',qh lo.reite rn ,[j,..t thrt.rn be e\!e.ier.ed r. a pi.,
Ne* York
o lorol lensth oi 25'4" Phorogtophcoudesyol D*on Golle'v, l!r.: l)rrs .i rtrel.li.d .r hctod{p .nv.s .]re!d) osins .s a licrue
lhutr{li r.t re(cstil:; rs r s,...sl,rl orc.

In its lrnul o'rtljrr rln n nrdonLt€dl! Lorre.r. Tl,,Jc ar., }o\'.yer,.errai.


q'rilific.tlio.\ ll,rt.xn br Dr.le
'lo LrLrn \jrli, it n not quite.n.nql lo sar that r b..e crnvrs ia.:Lcd ro
n
$rI n ht inG\..'ril\" I $..0\sful pi.t'r.j n w.ul(i, I drnrk, b€ les of..
.\rgs.rrt'or r{r \x! ll,Jl it is not LorttinbllJ .it. lt nu} be .on.t rcd rhrt
rrlurr.i(1rm\lan.es Dill,t ln .h rs to ndli" it. u.c\sfu] printinsi bur J
s,[l(l rrrxr rl, , n). tl)rt r,, I'r!,r.n, ihe cnterprise ot Dannnis \vonld ]rave
n, (hnr{r \o.lrr\|n]llv tlit n.llrnrq n.rc thin thc nine Noul.l r.nlnr. (Ir
\odd nrlrirc x hr Art,,n.r chrnge rhrD lhrt tl'rt !,rn,rin! hrs undercone lron
\hn.l lo Nol.ftl, Oln\ki, rn,l Stdhl) \loreover, reenis w'nctling.s . paint-
nrs in tl). \1trr thrt on. \e.\ Ll,e tnr'lrd-up Qnvas as a rDnnn,g, i.d }cing
corvinrcd llnl r rJnrtilul.r $ork.rn \tJd .omplison \rft! the DanrL.s of rhe
lJx\t Nh\r qmlit_v ir n.t ni doubt, rre rlt.setl'er diffenJ)t r\prricn.€s: it is,
I \ art 1,,..,) , rr thoLcl, u er\ {'n.thing compels .o.vi.Li.r 2s ro its (l!nlib,
il is.. nw. thrf bniilly,tr ronrnully a printing. This susgrsts tliat llalles\
rnd lhe delnnitrtion ot llrtn.s! .usht not to be thonght of rs rhe ir'ellu.ible
.\icrc. df pi.tdial rlt but rrdrer rs \omctln,g litc t\e ni ,tdl .ontlitiarc
lot $,'\1h"1!s ])tir!: !..r ut a r,ln,rirsi ind dnt dr..ru.ial qu.\tion js not
MichoelFried 121 Arr ond Obi€cthood 125

as he r€ma*s in 'Recentress of SculPture," the 'look of lon_art s as lte meaning in ttris contcxt o{ "the condition of non-art" is what I
no longcr available to paintin8." Instead, 'tbe borderline between art have bem cslliDg obiecthood. It is as tlough objectlood alone can,
and non-art bad to be sought in t]te three-dimensioDal,where scub ln ihe present cicumstances, secure somethinds identity, if not as
truc was, and where everything material that was not art also was non-aft, at least as neitber painting aor sculpture; or as though.a
Creflberg goas os to say: work of art-more accurately! a *'ork of modemist painting or
The look of machinery is shunned norv becauseit does not go frr fculPture- were in some essentialrespe& not an obieca.
'Itere is, in aDy case, a sba4) contrast between the literalist es-
enough towards tbe look of non-art, which is presumably arr
'inerd look that ofieis thc eye a miBimum of "interesting" inci_ o{ objecthood-almost, it seems,as an alt in its own dght-
aent-udike the nachinc look, which is arty by comparison ( and modemist painting's self-imposed imperative riat it defeat or
whcn I thinl of Tmguely I vould agree witl thi!). Still' no ruryend it! o1ralobjectlood tbrough the medium of shape. In {act,
matter how simple the object may be, there remain tle telations ftorn the perq:ective of rec€nt modemist painting, the literalist posi-
and interelatioDs of surface, cotrtour, etrd spatial int€rval Mini- flon evinc€! a sensibility not simply alien but antithetical to its own:
rnal worts are readable as art, as almost an)'thing is today-iD_ as though, from that p€Epective, the demanAsof art and the condi-
cluditrg a door, a table, or a blank sbcet of pap€r. . . . Yet it would tioDsof obiecthood are in drrect coLflict.
seen that a kisd of art oearcr the condition of non_art could not Here the question arfucs:What is it abour objecthood 6 pmiected
be etrvisaEedor idcated at tiis momeDt. and hnostatized by the literalists that makes it, if only from the
per*)ective of rec€nt modemist painting, antithetical to art?
what ih@ midn l dd, so to sp@I, lDds onditios ar.' but raths sbnt.
at a siv@ mondq is @Psble of @np€lliDg @ ictio!, of suc.€€ding a pan't_
ing- This is Dot to sy that paiDti,g fu! to *.D€; it ,5 !o clai6 tlat thrr
e-xn{Fi.e. rhat *hi.h coinpdt @'victil,Fjs legetv dete@ilcd bv' aD'l answer I want to propose is this: the lite.alist espusal of ob-
ihe.€Ior6 chang6 @tilully io retMse to, the vltal work of the reeDt pan' amounts to nothing other than a plea lor a ne*' genre of
The scD@ oi Dliltirs is oot somdthiDg ireducible Raihd, the tasL of tlr'
modmist paiotq G to dis@q those @veDtions that' nt E givcn o@etl ; and theeEe is now the neeation of art.
zlotu a( i,oabl. of BlablDhitg }is wol's idodtv 6 P.intios' Literalist sensibility is theatrical because,to begin with, it is con-
cErb|;aDorc.chs lhis p6iti@ when he sd& Ar it rdls to Ee, Ne\ witb the actual circrnnstances in vhich the beholder en-
mn, Rolhlo, and Still lave $dg the lellditici$ of Elod.dist Dainting n' literalist work, Morris makes this explicit. Whereas in pre-
a nN ilnA bon simDly by @ntiouing it io its old ooe. The qu6tion nN a'lcJ art 'what is to be had from the work is located stricdy rritiin
$bush rhet art is ro lo"ger *hrt ortitutcs att, or tle art of psilting' r\
sch-btrt what inedDcibly mstitutes goo, alt s $ch Or rathq, what h th' " the experience of litenlist art is of atr obiect in u sihtatton-
ulbnale source of valuo or quolitv i! an?' But I *ould argrre that what mo(l' that, virtually by deGnition, indudes the beholdet:
€mnm hd\ mennt is tltlt lhe two qucstiorwhat @n5titut6 an ot Drnrt
inc? ,,sd vh con\tilutA ced p"intiog?-." no loneer sepedbler
'hc tle 6r'l The better new work takes relationships out of the wo* and
o, incra\inrlv rend\ to dis.pp€.r' into the s@nd (I am
Ai"*nn-^. 'n nek€s them a function of space, light, and the viewer's ffeld of
o*i". r*i"s B.u. het. with the v6sio. of nodehisn put foMrd in nr
vision. The obiect is but one of the terms in the newer aestletic.
Tbee Anarican PanncB.)
For eole on thc oture of qscnce aDd cowondon i! the Eod@ist arr' It ii in some rl,ey more reflcxive becauseonet arvarenessof one-
sm ny A.ays oD sl"llJ r',J OliL'ki nentiood .bove, 6 well s Slanlev Cav'll self existing iD the sarne space as tlre work is sEonge. than in
_\lsj;
Dh@bpo.cn. ind neioind6i to cnti6 of thlt e$v' to b' FUI' previous work, with its many intemal relatioDships. One i5 more
X.hed as oan oi a 'vmno.iun bv the U!iv.6tv of Pitlsburgh PB in a v"l aware than befoie that he himself is establishing relationship as
e'r. trinrf"r,i nriieia C"vdl s Dies will als lppcar io LxJ
-".otiti"a What We Sdr?, n b@! of his 6savs to be poblish€d in the ndr
he alDreh€n& the obiect fiom various positions and under vary-
We M.ot
bg conditioB of light ena spatial context.
Michoel Fried 126 Ad ond Obiedh@d 127

Monis belicrcs tlat iliis a\rarcncss is hciglrtcncd by "thc shengd) ('1 Ly lh. prescn, F ot dreobjc.r tr is nor.ontro c,l intt,e,cn\.ol
the constant, knorvn shape, the gestalt," agaiDst which thc appc,! rrnrg ordi rc.t hy _.nigg,.ljrtc ot ntri.(t\ or Ly si,mc\h
,pingol
ance o{ t}ie piece Irom difierent ponns of vje\\' is constantly bcir{ rDcspacc\rrro,rndjnAt],e \ ieq
compared. It is intcDsiffed also b)' thc l.rrge scale of much litcrnliil "r.
'lhe obtect,not the behotder,must
remain the centeror Locusof the
rilua,ioo but the \ifuariooit-e[ belona,i o t_LF b.hotder _ir r" /,ir
TLe artareness of scale is a furction o{ tl)e comparison nrx(l, snuatron. Or $ \toli\.lrx\ I, mrrl,ed..t $i,t, to .,r,ph1\i7.
between ihat constaDt, oDe's body size, and the ol)J'ect.Spr(,
rh"r
flungsrr. in a:pdcF wirl, onc.ef mttr", tt,dn...
lrjrJl] one is in a
betveen thc sobject and thc object n inplied in such 8 con)pili st,a.,sum(n,ndrd L\ tl,rng.. \g.rin.d,,. is no ct,aror hrrtl disrin,,
rrcnh.t!v.Fn rhc tso siatcsof igairs: onF is. ,Jtcr all.
a/u,1, rur_
rotrnded by things. Brt rhe thirgs thar llre litcralist
The larger the object the nore Fc uc forced to leep our distatt,, works of art
fDusr som€how confront tbe be.hotdcr_thcy must,
one might al_
rr). b..rl.r.edni,' iuir in h'sspx,c Lur in his u1ly.
Ir:ost Nonci,r lhis,
It is this necessary, ge.tter dist.rnce of the objcct iD spacc fm',,
oru bodies, nr order thai it be seen at dl, tbat structurcs tl!
nonperonal or public modc llnich IIoris tdlocatcsl. IIo\\eu'l
indicatcs lack of interestin the obiecr itsetf. tsnt
_a th. concerns
it is just this distancc bctlveen object and subject that creat( s I
norv are tor nrore conrrotof. . . thc enrire sftuatior.
Controt is
more extended situation, becaNe phrsical participrtion becoDr(*
n.cc(\rn it.dn vr.iabhs of objecr tighL space.
bod\ . arc ro f,,nc.
non. re ohic,l h.6 nor hcmr,,. IessimporlJnt.tt
his ,,,ercly
becomelcssself nnporranr.
Th€ theatricalit-v of \lorris's notion of thc "nonpersonal or publi,
mode seemsobvious: tlre largenessof thc piccc. in contunction lri(ll It is-.I tlfk. rrorth remarhne rhar -the cnrrre
sihrahon-mexns
its nonrclational, unitary character, dir.m.sj t}c bcholder-not jtFl y rhat.:/4 ol_n .iD,tuL]ing,ir se.rns. Gp b.hotderi
lac ,o.r,/
phlrically but pslchicallr. It n, one might s.ry, prccisel)' this distrrtr lhcrc is norhingsirhin hls 6eld ,,i vision_norhing$.t
hc rut;s
ing that ,ll?}.s the bcholde. a subject and the piece in question . . noteol in Jny $2] th..r.0s ir \.Fre.dc,laresirs irclF\anc"
ro the
an objcct. But it docs not follo( thrt tlte l:uger the picce thc mor' srruanon. and th.rctorero lhe.\p.rirDie in .rupsrion. on thc.on_
securely its -publii' character is cstablished; on the contrxr!, 'ln trary.ror somebinqto Irc fe,,.ei\,d dt aUis lor it ta L,F
|r\
size the object can orcnYhcln and dte gigantic sc!I,' pan o[ thrt (iruation.E\cryr]ing (ouol\_not.F pad f.r.tsi\cd
yond a ceta ot rh^ obj.cr,
becomes the loaded term." Uoffis \\'ants to achiel€ prcsen.t Durasp€rtor the siiu.rtionin $ hrchils obi*rlhoodn e.r.bli\hFd
on whn h th.'roLiFcthoodjrr t.Jstpa,ltvdppend. "xJ
througl oLiectlrood. \'Lich .equircs a certanr Idgeness of scnl(.
nther dian through size alone. But he is ako avarc tiat this dis
tinction is aDl.thnrg but Lard and hst:
Furlhcrmor.the pmspn,.ol litFHli\tart. \hi.h CrpFnbcrg
$.,5 rt,.
For the space of th. roon itself is a stnich'.ing factor both in it\ nr(t lo andlvr. is bai.. y I thc:rb-ic.rt
p0F,1or qu*Irv_ r tind ol
crrbic shape and in t.'nDs of the kind of conrprcssion diferert st?g, pres€ncc.k is a function, not just of the ofrt.,,riu*o"
atra,
sizcd and prcportioned room can efiect upon the object-subjc.l oren. pvcnrggrA.iFni $ oflil.ralisr wo,l. bur ot th. cp.,.i"l(om.
tems- That ihe sp.rcc of thc room bccomes of such importan(, pircrlythal thrt wor( c\lods trom lhe behotder.som"rhi;g
is rHi.lto
does not mean drNt .rn cnlironnrental sihration is being estal) hav. pr.s.ncewh.n ir dcmdrdr lhrL tlr. bchotdcrr-t.lt
;nro nc_
lished. The tot.rl spacc is LopeftrlJy altcrcd ir ccrtain desired wn!' count, that he take it reno dy-and when tlic fdnllrent
of that
124 An ond Obiecthood 't29

denand consistssinrply in bcing .rrarc of it and, so to speak,ji lhrt most closel],approachthe lit€.alisr idealsof thc noffelationnt,
acting accordingly.(Certain modcs of scriousncss are closedto the lhe unitary and the vholistic arc orier persons.Snnitarly,tlc titernl
beholderby tle work itself,r'.e..thoseestablishcdby thc ffncstpainf lst prcdilectionfor syrnmetry,and in seneralfor a kind;f order that
ing and sculptureof the recentpast.But, of coursc,llote arc hardl! "is simply ordcr . . . one thing aJteranorher,,'
is rooted,not. as Judd
nodcs of scnousncss in shi.h nrosipcople feel at home,or ihat the! M.emsto.bclier,'e,in new phitosophicatand scientific pnnciples,
cvcn ffnd tolcrablc.) Here aganrthe eriperienceof being distanced whatev-erhc takestheseto be, bur in ,atnre. .Lnd thfd, *e appar
by the Nork nr qucstionsccrnscrucjal, thc beholderknorvshimsdl cnt hollos'r1cssof rrost liteirlist lvork-the quatiry of having an
to stand in aD indcterminatc,opcn-cndcd-and rrne$cting-reltt /mirte-is alrnost blatantly anthropomorphic.It is, as numemus
tion dr flrlrlcc-tto dre nnp:rssneobicct on tbe (all or lloor. In fact. commentato$have rcmarkd approviDgl],,ns rhough rhe work in
bcing dhtanced by such objects is ot. I suggcst,cntircly unlil, questjon has an inncr, evcn se$ct, Iife-an eficct that is perhaps
bcing distrnccd, or croNded.by the silent prcscnccof anotherPe,- nade most e\dicir in \lonis's Unlftt".t ( 1965$6), a large rirgtiie
sonrthe cxpericnccof comingupon literalistobjcctsunevcctcdl)- torm in t\ro hatvei, with fluorescent tight gto,ving t-^ *itnn ,i *.
for cxamplc, in somc*hat d:rkencd rooms-caD be strongly, i{ narrow 8ap behlcer tnc t*o. In rhc same spirit Tony Smith has
momentarilv,disquietingin tustthis \\'ay. srid. i m intercst(Jin rhe inrrutrhility and myrertousness of rhe
There are tbree matu retrsons$h.r thh is so. First, thc size ol lhing. s Hc h,r. .rlqohF"n qlored rs sryin$.
much literalist {o*, As \lorris's remarks irnpl}, mmpares fairJ'
\torc dnd nrorc I've becomeinterestcdm ptlcmaoc strLrctures_
clorcty $ith that of thc human body. In this contcrt Tony Sinitll\
In these,llll oI the materialis in rension.But it is the characterof
replics to q(estionsabout his six-footcubc. Dir,. rre highly sugge.
the fonrr that .rppealsto nrc. Thc Lionorptric forms that res r
from the constnrctioDhave i.lr.amlikc qurliry for mc, at least
Q: Iihy didnl you 'nakc it ltrgcr so that it $ould loom orer t|, Iike Nb.rt is srid to be a fairly .ommon t).pc of Amedcan

l: I \!as not makinga monument. Smiths intered in pnoumaricstructues may seemsurpnsing,bur it


Q: nren shy didnt.,-ou m:rke it smiller so that the obscr(c' is consistenrboth lvith his own rvork anrl wittr literaiist s;ibility
could seeo\er the tor)?
Senerally.Pncumaticstructurescan be describccl;rs holov witb a
,{: I sas ot,nalnrg an objcct.i v€ngeance-the fact rhat they are not ..obdumte, sotid masses"
One \aI of drscribing shat Snrithlfrr m.rkingmight be so'nethnn (ltloris) b.ing nlJtrr?r/ on instcad of taken for granted. And ir
likc a surrogatcpcrson-thrt is, a kind of st.rtr". (This reading6nil' reveahsomethirg,I think, about what holownessmeansin literalist
supportin the crr)tion to a photographof anotherof Smith'spiccc\. art th.rtthe lorm: rl,it r.sult rr, bn,norphic.-
Tftr Blat t tjor. publishtd h the December1967issueof Artlortitr.
shicli Samlrcl\\'{itstif. Jr.,presunably*idr th€ artists sanction.ol'',1
sened, Onc'carrtc thc h!o-b) fours undcr thc piece,\'hich keep il I am suggcsting,then, that a kind of latent or hiddcn naturaljsm,
from appeartuglikc rr(l)jtcdure or a monumcnt, and set it ofi ir. indeed anlhropomorphisn\lics rt tle core of literattst theory aod
praclice. The .oncept of presenceall but says as mrrch, tirough
sculpturc."Thc t\\o b\.fours nre. in e{ect, a rudimentary p?desrril
and thcrcbv rcinlorcc tlc statuelike qualty of the piece.) Secotrrl rarely so nakcdly as in Tony Smith'sstatemenr,-I didnt think;f
the entitiesor beings cncouDtcredin €reryda,ve\periencein ten,s
^'!':,ot
smrlh
l, rhe.]torFFriahphrrn..rtyquured. cI .r,iFm,.nr{ b} I.ony
hrvc brel lrlen frrm SJmuel W"q.t.rn. J, r. -T,Ilrns in Tuny Sm,rh,:,
. Quotdi by ltoris rs tl)c epigr.Dh to hG Notcs on S.Lrlpture,lart 2 ' Arrt tur', Vol. v. No. .1. Dec@brr 1966.
130 ond Obie.thood l3l

them [i.e., thc sculptures he 'ahvays" made] as scrlptues but r{ night and tlere w€re no lighs or sboulder markers, lines, r3ilings,
gesences of a sort." The latency or hiddenness of th€ anthroPl, or anything at all exc€pt the alark pavemcnt moving through tb€
morphism has bccn such that the literalists ttremsclves have, as $r. landscape of the Bats, rimmed by hills in the distalce, but punc-
havc seen,felt frec to chanctedze the modemist art they oppor.. tuated by stacks, towers, fumes, and colored lights, This drive
e.g., the sculpture of Dartd Smith and Anthony Caro, as anthmp,, was a revealing experience.The road and mtch o{ the landscape
moryhic< chiracterization *'hose teeth, imaginary to bcgin i!itl,. was atificial, and let it couldnl be called a rvork of srt. On the
Lave jrrst been pulled. By thc sametoken, however,{hat is !$ror11 other hand, it did somethiog {or me that art had never done. At
with lit€ralist work is not $at jt h antluopomorphic but that tlr frst I didnt loow what it was, but its eFect was to libente me
meaningand, equally, the hiddenncssof its anthropomorphisnar,. Irom many of the viervs I had had about art. It seemedthat there
incurably theatrical. (Not aI Literalist art hides or marks its anth(' had been a reality therc that had not had any expressionin art.
pmorphism; the u'<rk of lesser ffgures like Steincr s'elrs anthropo The experience on tle road was something mapped out but trot
morphism oD its sleeve.) The crucial disti^ction that I an ptoposnr: sociall!' rec{gnized. I thought to myself, it ought to be clear that's
so tar is betlDcen$otk tlnt is frndanentallg theatical ond :trotk the end of art .Vost paintiDg looks pietty pictorial after tlat.
that ir nor. It is theatricality that, whate!€r thc diferences bchvc.,' There is no way you can fram€ it, you just have to expedence it.
drcm, links artists like Bladen and Cmsvenor,? both of rvbom bar,. Later I discovered som€ abmdoned ai$tdps in Europe-aban-
auowed gigantic scale [to become] the loaded tem" (Monis' doned works, Surealist landscapes, something thrt bad Dothing
with odrer, morc rcstrained fgurcs like Judd, llolris, ADdre, Il, to do with any function, created *'orlds without haditioD. Altifi-
Gac*en, Lewitt and- despite thc ske o{ some of his pieces-Torrr cial landscape without cultural ge.€dent began to dawn on me.
Smith.sAnd it is in the intercst,though not evlicitly in thc nam€.,,1 There is a drill ground in Nuremberg la€€ cnough to accom-
theatre that literalist ideoloey reiectsboth modemist painting nxl. modate two million men. Tbe entire ffcld is €nclosed with high
at least iD the hands of its most distinguished recent pracdttunr.\ embanlments and towers. Th€ condete approach is three sixteen-
modemilt sculpture. inch steps,one above th€ other stretching for r mile o! so.
In this conn€ction Tony Smitht dcscnptioo of a car ride takcn .n
se€ms to have beea revealed to Smith tbat nislt was the
night on tlle New Jerscy Tumpike before it rvas ffnished rnakr
ial nature of painting----€ven, one might say, the convention
compcllingreading:
of art. And this Smith seemsto hav€ understood not as laying
\l7ben I Nas teaching at Coopcr Union itr tle Grst year or t$o (,1 ihe ess€trc€of art, but as announcing itr end- In comparbon
the lifties, sorirconctold me ho* I could get onto tbe unffnishr,l &e unmarke4 unlit, all but unstructured tumpike-more ple
Ne$ Jersey Turnpike. I took three students and &ove fron, , *,ith the tumpike as ereenenced fmm within tle car, travel-
so'nclvherein thc llfe;rdowsto Nes' Brunswick.It was a drll lng on it-art appean to have struck Srnith as rlmost absurdly small
("Atl art today is an art of postagestarnps,"he has said), ckcum-
rli the c.taloluc tr, lnst sprins's Primary Stncturcs cxhilttion at thc lc\nh
scribe4 .onventional. . . . There rvas, he seemsto have felt, no way
LlNeu, Bladen \rok, Ho$ do you m.ke rhe i'snlc rhe outlid€? ard Cn^
veDor, I dor'i \vDt mt *ork to be thoueht of ar 'large sculpture,' thet rn
to'frame" his ex?erienc€ on the roa4 that is, no way to make sense
ideai th.t operrtc in thc slace bchveeD lloor Dd eiln,s." The r.levancc ,,1 of it in terms of art, to make .,rf of it, at least as art then rvas.
these stdtdots to wlrt I harc.ddtrced d evid.ncc for ihe thdtn.{lit\.,,1 nather'you just have to e{peri€nce it"-as it hd?rpant,as it merely
Iil"!..lnt $pL.) nn l !r.r.r'e @m\ obvious.
r lt i. tl@tdc-rlity, loo. that links all tiee artists to otld ffeua d dislaftl,. b. (The experiencealon, is what matters.) There is no suggestion
as Kaprc\!, cdEll, Rrnschentrrs, Oldobd& Flavin, Snithe., Kienlot. that this is problematic i$ any way. The experience is clearly re-
Scgrl, S.lm, ChnJto, KrNma . . - thc Iist 6uld go on indefnitely. garded by Smith as wholy acctssible to everyone, not iust in priDci-
Robe Modll Unlirled, 1965. Grdy tiberstoss wirh lisht, 24' x 96,, dionelel
In lhe colledion of the Dwon Golle.y. phor.srdph coudesyof tea c.nelti Goltery, Tony Smnh: e slocl sox. 1963_65
Pointedwood. 2%,x 3,, phoiosr.ph
Fi"hb".hG"lr",v,N".
i";k'Y 'r

Jules Oliiski; surso ,5, 1t67. Aluminun poiored vith ocrrtic resin.tO, x ,14,
In lhe colleclionoJ Robe Rowon. Pholosrophcoudesy of Andre Ehmerich Ga
MichoelFried 134 Ad ond Obiecth@d 135

ple but in fact, and the questionof lehethcr or not one has realh p.rsistence,with whictr the experienceprcscntsitself directed at
^s
,rdl it doesnot arise-That this appealsto Smit! can be seenfrom hN him from outside (on the tumpike from outsidetbe.dt) thnt simul-
praisc of Le Corbusier as 'more a€ilabld' than Michelangelo: '"Th, t$neously males llim a subjcct-makes hi]n subicct-and establ;shes
dircct and primitive ei?cricnce of thc High Court Buildhg xr the experienceitself as something like thrt of an object, or rather, of
Chandigarhis likc thc Pueblosof the Sou$\rest under a fantasti, obiecthood.No sonder tr{olris'sspcculationsabout hov to put liter
overhangingclifi. It's somethinge\eryone can understand."It is. I nlistwork outdoorsremair str.rng+ in.oclusive:
think, hardly necessaryto add that thc availability of Dodemist art Why not put thc work ouklools rnd frdhcr change the terms? .4.
is not of this kind. and that the riqhtnessor relevanceof on.s real need existsto allow this nc\1 stcp to becone prrtical. Arch;
conviction about speciffc modemist s'ork, a conviction that begnr{ tecturalh dpsigredstulpturc courls nk sol lhe Jl|s(cr nor is the
and cnds in onc's expe.ienceof the work itself, is always opcn n, placementof *'ork outsidc cubic archite.tDralforms ldeally, it is
a space,without arcbit.chrre as backgroundand rcferencc,that
But what oar Smidl'se)ipericDceor the tumpilc? Or to put th,. vould give diferent tenns to vork with
sane question another way. if t}lc hrrnpike, airstrips, and drill
gound arc not works of:rt, shat ore the],? What, indeed, if not Untcrs the pieces are sct doNn in . Nholl}' nah|ral contcxt, and
empty, or 'abandoned. sitrotions? And \rhat leas Smith's cxpcri Morris does not sccm to be advocatingthis, somc sort of artiGcial
enceif not the expcrienceof rvhlt I have been calling tftealrc: It is l)ut not quite Architcctural setting must be constructed trVhat
as though the tumpike, airstrips,and drill ground revealthe th€airi Smith's remarks seemto suggesl is that the more effective-meaning
cal characteroI literatst art, only ilithout the object, that is, 1ri|horl efiectivc ns fhedlrc-tie setting is madc, the morc superfluous the
the att itself-as though the obiect is nccded only witlin x roon" rvorksthenNelvesbecome.
(or, perhaps,jD any circumstaDces lesscxtremethan tbese).In cach
of the abovecasesthe objectjs, so to spcak,r"plrrs{/by something,
for eriample,on thc tumpike b) tle mnstant onnlsh of t}lc road, thl Smitn"s accomt of his expe ence on the tumpikc bears \sitness to
simultaneousrcccssionof ne$ reachcsof dark pavementillumnred theatris profoundhostitityto thc arts,and discloses, preciselyin the
by the onrushingheadlights,thc scnseof the turnpike iLselfas sonr absenccof the object md in *hat takes its place, what might be
thing enormous, abardoned, derclict, sristing for Smith alone an(l ca ed the tbeatricalitJ,of objccthood.By the sametokeD,however,
for those in the car with hiln. . . . This last poht b important. On thr the imperrtive drat modemist Finttng defeat or suspend its obtcct-
one hand, the tumpike, ai$trips, and drill gound belong to no onc: hood is at boftom thc impcratile that it.Irf"ar or susPendtlreure.
on the olher, tbc sitDrtionc*abtishcd by Snith's presen.€is in earll And thrs means that there is ir s'ar going on between thcatre and
casefclt by him to be ftir. Nloreolcr, in each casebeing able to go modemistp;Linting,behseenthe theatricaland thc pictorial-n war
on and on indefinitrlr is of the essencc.\\/hat replacesthe object- that, despitc thc literalists'explicit reiection of modemist painting
s}lat does thc sa'nc job of distancingor isolatingthc beholder,of and sculpture,is not basicauya Datter of programand ideologybut
rnaking him a sul)iect,that tbc olject did jn the closed roont is of s?ericnce, conviction,sensibitity.(For example,it wns a ptrticrL
above oll the erdlssncss. or obicctlessness, of the approachor on lar expcrienc€ that engend€rc.l Smith's conviction that painting in
rush or perspectn(. It is thr cvlicihre$s, that is to say, the sherr fact, that the arts as such verc ffnishcd. )
The starbess snd apparent ineconcihbility of this connict is
I The (oncelt of r roon n, mostly clandcsiinely, imDoitant to liicirlist art
sometlringnerv. 1 remarkedearlier that objecthoodhas becomean
ald thco.y, ln fact, it crn olten lc substihrted for rhe word 'irEce" in the
issuefor modemist painting only vitlin the past several years. This,
latrer: $merhi.g is sanl ro be in or s!{ce if it is in the sdc sith Dc
{and if it is pla.ed s. d)at I can harilly fril to Dotice ii).
'@a however, is not to sry t\at beforc tlc Prcsent siturtion came into
13 6 A.t ond Obiecihood 137

being, paintings,or sculptures{or that ,naiter, stnply te,e obie(t\. Snnilrrly, what has cornpclledmodcnist painting to dcfeat or sus_
It would, I think, be closcrto thc truth to saytbtrt they sttrplU $1'rr' pcnd its oll.n objccthoodis not jusr developmentsinrernal to itselJ,
not.1oTlle dsk, e!c.n thc possibility,of sccing\lorks of a]t as rollr hut th. samegeneral,cnveloping,nfecrious thcatricality rhat cor_
ing more tban objectsdid not exjst. That this possibjlity began to rupted literalistsensibilityin ihe Arstptace and in the gnp oI which
prcscnt itsett around 1960 \'as lnrgely tbe result of dcvclopmcnl\ llrc developmeDts in quesiion-and modernistpajnting in general_
\rithin modemist painting. Roughly,the more nearly assimilablcl,) orc s€en as nothing more than .rn uncompelhrg and presencetess
objectscertain advancedpainting h.rd comc to seem,the lnore t|, kind of thcatre.It rras the nced to break the fingersof this grip that
entire history of paint'Dg sincc \{mct could bc urderstood- nrad€objccthoodan isstrefor modemistpainring.
delusn'e\'.I believe as consistn,gin the progressive(though ulli Objcctbood has also become an iss;c for modcrnist scutpture.
mately inadcquatc) revelationof its cssenti:l objecthood,tland tl! ]'his is ttue dcspitethc fact that sculpture,bei,g three dimcnsionat,
more urgcnt bccarnethe need for Drodcrnistpainiing to make (\ i{.semblcsLoth ordinarv objccts and lfteratist work in a wav that
plicit its coDventioml speci6call),its /ridfolidl-esscnceby defo.ll printing docs ot- .\lnost ten yees ago Clemenr creenberg
stmmcd up \r+at hc saw as the cmergenccof a nerv sculprural
ing or suspe.ndiDg its o$r objccthoodthrough the tnedium of shrp,
"$tyle,"Nhosemasteris undoubtcdly Dlrlid Smith, in the fo
The view of tnodemist pairting as teDding to\yard obiccthood i' ;wine
implicit in Judds rDrnrk, The ne$ [i.e.. literalist] sork obliourh
resemblessculptuc more than it does painting, but it i\ nearer L) To render srbstance entircly optic.al, and form, wllerher pictonat,
painting'j and it is in tlis \'ie\I that literalistseDsibilityin gcncral I sculphrral,or architechral,as an intcgratpart of anbicnt space_
grounded.Literalist sensibiliryis, therefore,.r responseto the tarr thjs brirss anti-ith$ionismfirll circle. Insterd of the il ion 6f
developnentstlat havc ldgely compelled nrodcmist pAinting 1,, things,we rre now ollcred rhc iltusionof modatitics:nanet),.,that
mdo its obiecthood-more precjsely,the sanredcvclopmentsr.,Jl mattcr is incorporeal, \yeighdess, aDd exists onry opticaly- lik€ a
.Iiffercntlq,n\at is,n th€atricd tem$. br l sensibilitya/r.o.Iv thcrl miirgc.rl
Iical, alrcady (to say th€ worst) corruptcdor pencrted b! tic)tf, Since 1960 dis developmenthas been crried to a successionof
t Sianlc)_Cavell ias r.n.rled in senina! tl.t to. (nnt in ihe Criii.rxr climaxcs by the English scutptor ,{nrhony Caro, r,hose Nork is far
'4
Jrzlg,cnt a $ork of a.t is in obicci. I sill ia}. rhis oppornnrilv to r, sp"c'f.zlly resisrantto bcins seenin term of objecthoodthan
'ot
lndrledse 6e facr rhat s.itloot numcro$ .onvosations sith Cilcll duri, 'noreof David
that Smith. ,{ chaJacte*ric sculptureby Caro consists,I
the prst fcs r?a6, and Ni$oui \\Ial I hale learled frotu him in colrrc\ lll wirnt to say, in the mrrturl and nakcd lufr?posriionof the l_beaDs,
semn,rr\, ifu prcspnt essar-and rot it alone\onld hat br.n n,okcn.l'|,
girders,cylinders,lengths of piping, sheermetal, aDClgrill that it
I $rnr ,lso lo c\pr.ss hl gntitude antl indcbtqlncss to the comDoscrJ,'l '
Harbison, \rho, toFeilFr \nl his $ifc, rh. violnist no*nary lltrb'son. l'.' conrprisesrathcr than in the .ompound obl.ct ttiat they composc.
sien me \'!ateve. nriiirln,, inio modem music I lEve hail, both for thlt i', The mutual infcction of one element by another,rath;r tha; the
tjrtion aDd {or ndrerous sishls bearins oD dre subjmt of thn essay. idcntity of er.h, is shat is cmcial-though of courseatte ng the
1One (ay of d€soibnrs this vieN misht be to ey that it dr.$s som.thi''
' identity o{ any elemcnt rvould be at least as drasricas attcring its
likc r false infer€nce fron lle fact th.t thc incrersingl) cxplicit aLdnoslr,l
me]t of tlc litcral charrct(,r of the sutpod has b{u..ntral to thc dereli,l,
placlment. (The ideniity of each elementmattels in some\!}af thc
melt of moder sr tannn,g: mn€l!, that litenlness ,s rrcft is an irti\tic \'.r1,. sameway as the fact that it is an arm, or rhis aml, that makes a
of supreme importa!.€. In shape as Fon I argued thrt tljs iifcrur{l particulargcsture;or as the fact thlt it is rhrr word or rtis note and
blind to ccnain vital .on\nlerations: nnd implicd that liter.lncss-more r)i, not snothcr rh/t o.curs in I particulr FlacF in a scnt,n,.c or
cisclt, thc litcralness of the suppo -n. vrluc only oitlnr modctnist !.i,r Drclody.) Thc individurl .l.nrFnr. t-.'ro" ,igrificrnccon onc rn-
nrg, and tio oDly bcclnse it hrs bccn ,,d./e onc by lhe listoD of t}it eln
'tr Th. \ew Sc.ulpturc,'Ar, nd Crftzr,, Boston, lg(jt, p. 14.!.
Arr ond Obie<thood r39
MichoelFried 138
,,t objecthoodachievedby opricalt, and, in Caro,spieces,by their
othcr prccisclyby virtuc of thcir jutaposition: it is in this scDso.il
sy'rtar as well. It is in this conncctioD,I believe,rhat a vcry recent
scnscnrcxtricablyinvolvrd wiih the conccptof mcaDing,lhat cl('r\
xrrlpture, Banga,by JulesOlitski ought to be scen.Brng., consists
thing in Carot art that is worth looking at is in its syntax.Caro\
,)t bctlveen fffteen and h'enq. metal h,bes, ren feet b;s a"d of
conccntrationupon syntax anrounts,iir Greenbergt view, to "r!l
vrious diam€ters,placedupright, dveted togctherand then spLayccl
emphasiso abstmdless, on mdical unlikenessto nature."'3 ,{D(l
$ith painr of diftcrent coloF; the doniinanrhue is yeltow to
Creenberggoes on to rcmark, No other sculptor lras gone as fur teuow_
o'nng€,but the top and'icar" of the piece are sufirsed with a dccp
from thc structrral logic of ordinarl ponderrblc thnrgs."It is q'orili
rcse,and closelooking rcveah Aecksand cven thin tricklesoI grccir
cmphasizing,ho\\,ever-that lhis is a {unction of norc than the lo\!.
ond red as s'cll. n rather widc red band has bccn paintcd a;uncl
ness,opelness,pan-by-patness,absenceof enclosingpro0les arxl
lho top of the piecc, \rhile a much ihinner ban.t in tlvo clifiercnt
centers of interest. unperpicuolrsress,etc., of Caros sculpturcs.
l,lucs (one at the'flont" and another at the ..rcar,) circumscribes
Rather they defeit, or anay, objec$ood b1, initating, not gestu(\
thc yery bottom. Obviously, Bungd relates fitiDately to Olitski's
exactly,but the efi.d., of gestuei like c€ rin Drusicand poetr\'.
spraypainthgs, cspecialy thoseof tbe pasr ycar or so, in which he
they arc posscsscd by the laoslcdge of thc hurnan body and hor.
hrs workcd with paint and bmsh at or near the limits of the support.
in irnumcra]r]e$a)'s and moods,it niakcsmcanbg. It is as thoucir
At thc sme tjm. it !mo,rnlsro
Caro'ssculpturesesseDtialize mcaningfL,lncss assuch-as though thc 'omFtbingt.r morcrhan,n arim,pr
possibilit-vof neani'rg $hat tle say and do alore makcs his sculp.
sirrpl) lo ur "lran'latp his prinring\ into s,lrlpt,rrF{.
nrmrIy.
rr attcmpt'lakc
to estabhh surface-the sur{ace,so to speak,of ,rdnrfing
ture possible. ll tlis, it n hardly necessaryto add, makes Carot arl
a fountainhead of aDtjtitemlist nnd ,rntitheairical sensibility. -rs a mednrm o{ scu]pttre. The usc of tubes,each of which orc
rces, incrcditrly, as /df-r}!at is, flat but /o11e.t-makes Bznga,s sur_
Therc is another, morc gcneral res?ect in Nhich oLjecthood hrs
frce rnore like that of a painting ihan 1ik€ that of an obiecr, ljkc
be.r'mc an issuc for the most mbitious recent modenist sculptur
and that is in regard to color. This is a large and dimcult sub,ccl. F inting, .rDd unlike both ordinary objects aDd other s.utpture,
,n,rsl is d/lsu ace.,{nd of cou$e $hai dectaresor esrrblishesthat
rrhich I cannot hope to do nore than touch on hcrc.rl Bnefl!.
s'rrfacc is color, Olitski s sprayed color.
honever, color hasbecomeproblernaticfor modemistsculpture,not
becauseone sensesthlt it hasbeenrpplted, but bccausethe color of
a €!i1en sculptDre, \\nether applied or in the natural state of thc vtl
materi.rl,is identical \\ith its surfacei and inasmuchas all objccts At this point I Fant to matc a claim rhat I cannot hopc to prove or
havc su acc,arvacncssof the sculptrre'ssurfaceimplies its obicct- strbstantiatebut that I believe ne\.erthetess to be nuc: lJi;., that
hood thcrcbl thrcatcningto rlualif,vor mitigate the undermining thcatre and theatricality are at ear todal,, not simply with modcrnist
t)aiirting (or modemist painting and scutpture), but with arr As
L3lhi\ rnd tle follo\ing rem.rk irc taken {ron Greenbcrs's6say, Anihon\ s'rch-rrd to the ertent rhat thc difie.cnt arts can be described as
Cdro, ,.{rts l./r}uo*, tio.8, 1965. Caros ftst stcp in this dncction, thc oh!). D|odemist.1\ith moderDistscnsibitity as such. This clain crn bc
nrtion of th€ !c(lc!tx], secmsiD retro\pcct to }ave h.cn motivrtcd rct by lle l,roken do$T into rhree propositions or thes€s:
d€sirc to p(scnt l,is ryork $ithout arfiffcial anh so nuch as bt tle need nl
lr Tl, sfr.,.s,tpnthe\u^ ol ol t tr ddr tn: ,!n" itu t.d\ir,el!
undernj!€ jts o|jeldrooil. llk work l.s revealed ihe eltent to Nhich melclt'
pntting somethnrs on a ledestrl .ontra it in its objocthood; thonsh mqcl) to on Ih"ir abilitA to tlpl"dt ltratrc Tti\ i\ tFrtrtp\ Iowh.r;
'lcpcnd
(.moying the pcdestrl does not in itself undemine objcthood, N litcrrliir cvident than wirhin thearre itseu, rvherc tle necd to rteleat
'rore
N,hat I have been calling theatre has chiefly made itsclt felt as the
rlsee Creerb€rs s Anrhony Cxro'and th€ l.st seclion of hy "Shape is
nccdto establisha drasticaltyditrercntrel;rtionto iis audience.(The
Fom for mor€, thoush not a great de.l morc, .bout color nr sculptlrc.
t40 Ad dnd Objecthood 141

relevaDt texts e, of couse, Brecht and \taud.li) For thcatre ld. gdr€ral,including frankly appaltingones,are acceptabteto modcm,
!n audicnce it e fs lor one in a \\'ay the other arts do noti irl ist sensibilitywhercasall but the most successfut painrjng,sculpture,
fact, this mor€ than an)'tling else js $nat noderDitt sensibilitl fin(ls r'rusic,and poetrl..is rot. Becausecine 1a cscapesthcatre-auto-
inhteraLle in theatrc generalt.Ilcrc it sliould bc rcmarked that n'xti.ally, asit \rere-it providesa rvelcomcand rbsorbiDgrefugc to
literalist afi, ioo, possessesan audience, t}ough a somc\rhat spccill s.nsibilitiesat war vith theatre and theatncatity.At the sarnctimc.
one: thai the beholdcr is confronted bv literalist Nork $ithiD . ll( automJric. qurrJnt.cd.l,r".tFrol drc retllge morerccrrrrrcll.
situation ihat he eeeriences as hi, means lhat there is an importanl lh. fact tllat whrt is provided is a rctuge {rom the(lhc and not tt
seDsenr $'lrich the $ork in qrrestion exjsts for him olonr, c\.cn if h, lfi"rnph oi?r it, absorptionnot conviction meansthat the cinem ,
is not;rctually alonc witn $e work at tbe tinle lt mrv sccm Par']' cleD at its mostexperimental,is not a rnol"mist art.
doxical io chin] bolh that literalist scnsibjlit) tlsPircs to an ideal of 2) Aft degenentes ae it approaches the co rlitiotr af theata,
"somctliing cveryone can understand' (Snittr ) an.l that liic':'list rti 'I heatreis thc commondenominatorthat biffls a larse
and sccm-
ad.lresscsitsclf to the bchokler aloDc.but the Parador is or)ly aPpaf- i'rgly disparatevaicty of activitiesto one another.and that distin-
ent. Som.onc has merely to enter tlle room in *hich a Iitcmlist Nork [rishes t]iose .rctivities Irom the radicalty ditrercnt enterpriscs ol thc
has Leen p]accd io becorr that beloldcr- th.tt audicncc of onc- rnodemist arts. Here as elsewhere the qrestion of valuc or level is
.tlmost as though thc laork in qDcsiion has bccn uo,tnrg tor hnn rcntral. For example, .! failu.e to resister thc enormous difierencc in
ADd nr.rsDuch as liteirlist rvork rJependson the beholdcr. i{ hc(),L rluality betlvcen, sa]', the music oI Catcr and that of Cnee or bc-
plrtc Nithout hnn, it lur l,eeD vaiting for him And once bc is n) tht lNccnthr painlingsol Iouir dnJ dm:c ol R:rusch"nt,ers mi.ansrh"t
room thr: \ork refuscs- obstinatclv. to let hiD alone-$hich is lo tl'e rcrl dislindions-lrehvceD musicand rherrrc in rhe first inst.rnce
sry, it refuses to stop confronting him, distancjng him, isolating hiD) nDdbehveenpaintnrg sd theatre in the second-arc disolacedbv
(Such isotati(n is not solitude an) more tlian such coDfrontation is thc ijiusion Lbatthe lrdriers bchlccn rhe ans are in r_hcoro".*, oi
rrumhlnrq iCage rnd Raus.henbcrgLeirg scnq ronccrtyl,as simi.
It is the olcrcoming o{ ihentre that nodernist scnsil,iliiy li ds l.tr) and that tle arts tlerrsetves are at Iajt slidins towards some
most cxatting and that it expedences as the halln)ark of high art iD lind of ffndl. implosi!e. hug.h Lle.irabtesy:orhc\ii.,,\vh{rr.rs in
our time- There is, ho\\'e!er, onc art th:lt. b)' its tery nature, ?scdp's
theatrc eninely-thc mosies.ro This Lelps crplaijr \'ht molies nr
nRiD, lDs (allcd ancntion, in .{nversarion, to the sort of rctuenbetury thnt
\Ii.h llrrcht felt loes into giriDg ar ac.tut
': l-h.,'e.d t. achicre i (\L r€l.tion to the sp€cturor' of a novie, and nore Esjc.illy ro rlc nuture of
r h d i $ . u l r r - r h - r ! , i n r o h F d i n p i ! i n r .u ( h a n x.m u r ,r
rDd !l,ir! hr dis.rsredtime and againni hn \ntings on the.trc Nrt rot sim_
r;Ttis is the vie{ of Susu Sonrag, s,hosc various
!l) tlre restrltof !i\ \la^Lsm. O! die..ntlarr, his djsco\(4 ot Nlnrss(rd' essiys. colleck\l j,
i,, hve t.c,' n, lrn tle d'nove.-\oI slat riis .elarjon'nisht be lik.' \h.t it AIJ.i6t lnteryrctation, Dount ro per}aps the pu.cst<eitanrly tle mo*
nisht Dexn: \\'tr.n I rcrd Il.Ns CrrritufI undeAt@dm! phJ's li.tur:'ll' .grcsious<,rpressio! of irhat I have ben callins thcatric.l scnlibiltv jn
I \bl nr sc€ t}is bo,,t \nlcll cirdrlated lt Nisr'r of coursrthat I foun(l t rccent criticism. In tlis sese ihev are indeed the ..cascshrdiesfor nn a$thetic.
|id un.on!.nn^l\ \,itten | \Iolc Dilc of \lanist phrs: bnt this I'r \l'rx tr lhtury or my oM.pn.ibilly r h d . . h " r J.F. l h ,.o l o l F. In ., ( h a r tuk,n ti ;
s,.s th. .nly srFctrtorf,r nrr pla,rsI d cvF comercros\'' lBrcJn on Th'at'r'
cditc(l cnd t[nshtc(l b J.]]n \lillctt, ^"e$ Iork- 1964.pp 23_24)
I p.sagc lliss Soltns contends:

liEu.th non rhc morns cscrpetlc.tre is a b€autihrlqtrestion,rNl tlere An lclay is J s k n d o f j n . r r u T e n t. a . i n .tr r n e r ,l tu r m o d tfl i n g $ n -
\ c 'u u r n . \ \ a n d o'n r E . , " i / i , ! D e w m o J",.t,q F:!i l i h . An ,l th ( m e a n s fo r
is ro.lonl't |ut &rt I plc,r)nenologyof rle cnrcDr that conccntrrtedon th| p i J ! . i i i n a r r r h " r F - b e e n r a . l i , " l l y . (e n d e d . . . . p d i n t+ n o to n {e r fe e l
iinilnrities rn.l di[.Jc,{.\ her\t€cnit a.d tbe thcihe-e g. th'r h the novi"s th,m.elv,s .odn.d lo env", .nd D..in., brr cmntov htln. nhor;srilbi
tlc ..tds are .ot llilsi.xlly presetr,thc ilD self is proj({.d (eill trom us, \v"\..rnd bny.lc rirp.. rh,.ir ovn roorhbrushes nnd $ck". . : . An kin(
thr screenis not .tD"ti"""",l a kinJ of object e\inins, so to \perk ib I or .onvcntionally acc€pred boundaria lave ihereby been chnllen{od: ,ot
r€l.tn', 10 ". {t. \'odd be cdremcl,trc\i(lirrg Crlcll
us, j$r the one b€h{een &e sciendf,c" and the ,.litcriry arustic,' cuiiures. or
$eijfic tlysi.rl
l,ti.hoel F ied 112 A.t ond Obiecthood 113

fact the individual arts havc ncver been norc cr?licitly conccm(d th€I arc us.d dire.tlv. d,c} ue nrorc spccr6( Also. rtrcy arc usu
with thc conventions that constihrte dreir respective essences. rlly aggrFssne.Thercis M oLi.etivit)ro rl,eol)d,,r.rtc ide rir) ot
3) Tlrc concep.sol q alitg anel aalue 'aruI to the enefi thtt
thesearc centrd to art, tlrc conceptof utt itsery arc D.ea'1itt'!lnl,
o, Like tl€ shapeof the obiecr,the nrateriatsdo nor reprcs€nt,signify,
uholly nuaningful, on/v ivithin tie indil)iLlua!ads. What lies ba or alludeto arything; rhe1,are rvhat thcy are .rnd nothing rrc_
twccn tft? a,ts is theatre. It is, I think, sigDiffcart that jn tl)eir -lnd
what th€y arc ii not, stricrty speaking,somethingthat is grAspcctor
various statcmentsthe literalistshare largely avoided the issuc ol hrtuitcd or rccognized once and tbr all. Rrthcr, the
vallre or quAlity at the sametime as they ha\€ sho\m considcrabl i'bdurate identitr' of a speciffcmaterirt, Iike rhe rvholcncx o{ the
uncertainty as to whether or not what ihey are making is art li, shape,is sinply statedor given or est:rLlishedat tho vcry outset,if
dc$c be their entcrpnsc rs an atteDpt to establisha nzlf art clocs not before the outset;accordingly,$e expcrienceoI lnth is one of
not removc the unccrtaintyi at most it points to jts source.Jutld rDdlessn€ss, oI incxhaustibilitr.,of being able to go on and on ler,
himsclf has as nuch as Rctaovledgedthc problematicclurncter of llng, for example,the matcrial itself conlrort onc in dl its litcral_
the literalistenterpriseby his claim, A work needsonly to be irter its "objectivi!,,. its abseDccoI anything bcyond itscu. In a
esting,"For Judd. as for literalist sensjbilit,vgcnerally,all that mai- 'r(ss, lcin
$nnihr trIoris haswritten:
ters js whether or not a given wor]( is able .o elicit aDdsustain(his )
interest.\VhcreasNithin the modernistarts nothing slmrt of ronui( Charactefistic of a gestalt is rhat oncc ft is cstrblithcct all the
tion-speciffcatly, thc conviction that a particular painting or scub' infomution about it, grd gestal! is cxhausted.(One does not,
ture or poem or pic.c of music can or cannot support comparisorr for example,seekthe gestaltof a gesralt.) . . . One is thcn both
with past wo* within that art {'hose quality is not in doubt- frce of the shapeand bound to it. Free or relcasedbecauseof the
mattcrs at all. (Literalist sork is oftcn condemncd \ehen it i\ cxhaustionof infomation about it, as $hapc,and bound to it
condcmncd-for being bonng. A tougher charge \rould be that it is becauseit remainsconstanrandnrdivisible.
merelyintcrcsting.)
The interestof a given work resides,ia Judd's !iew, both in ils Tle same note is struck by Tony Srnith in a statement the first
ch^r.cter as a Fhole nnd in the sheerspecfcitv o{ the matcridlsol ientenc€ of which I quoted earlicr:
which it is mad€, Im intercstcd in the inscrurability and mysteiior$nessof the
Most o{ the 1r'orktuvolvesne\\-materials,either rccent inventions thing. Somethingobviouson tle face of it (like a washing ma-
or thiDgsnot nsed beforc in art. . . . Vatedals vary greatly an(l chiDe or a pDmp) is of no futhcr interest. A Bcnningron earthen-
arc simDlynlateri:rls-Iomica, aluminum,cold-roled steel,plc)ii- s,aretar, for instanc€,Ilas subttcty oI color, largenessof form, a
glas, rcd and comoon brass,and so forth. They arc sp€ciffc.1l general suggestionof subsrancc,generosity,is calm and rcas-
rrring---qualitiesthat tlke ft be) ond pure utiliry. It continucsto
the one betwccD rrt" ard non-art ; but also mary stdblisheJ dislinctior' nourishus tim€ and time again.We can,t sce it in a sccond,wo
s'it])jn the uanl{l oI (ltrre itself t!!t bex!@n fod and.6nteDt, the frilo continueto r€ad it. Therc is somethingabsurdin thc fact th:r you
lous nrd t!r, sernus, lrd (a fayorite of literary irtelectu.ls) "high u(l
"low' culium. ll)]). 996 97)
cango back to a cubein th€ s,rmeway.
'lhc tru$ is thit tlc dkln!{ion b€t{Ten ihe hivolos and tlE seriouebe.u!. l,ikc Judd'sSpeciffcObjecrsand MoEis's gestaltsor unitary forms,
mon ulseDt, dcn iLn,lrr,., e\€D da), and d,e enie4'ns.s of tle m.denist d''r. S'nitlis cube is dhdrs ot further interest;one nevcr feels ihat one
more purely motilaic(l l)v the t lt ned to perpetute the stand,rds anil uht*
has come to the end of itj it is inexhaustible.It is inexhaustibte,
of rhc higl lrt ol the pisl.
144 Ad ond Obiecrhood 145

horvever,not becauseoI nny fullncss rldt is tlre inexhaustibilityol 'fhe litdalist prcoccupationwith
time-more prccisety,with the
art bui becauscthcrc is nothing lhcre io e\haust.lt is cndlcts thi thtratkn,olllr .rlt t ieru., -is.t sugserr p,r.rd]smnti(
*Iy rr,..1r;_
\,\'aya roadmight be: if it wcre circDlar,for eliample. .ir: rs !rsh Lhr"tre.or,trolr.rhe heholJ,r.11Idrlcrehy j.otxtFs
'l
trndlcssncss, benrgable to go on nnd on. evenha\iog to go on an(l fiirn.$idr lhc endlcrsn:s\nor jusl ot obi,LthoorlI.ur
ot rjrr.; or ..s
on, is central botl to the concepto{ inteJestand to that of objeci rl'oughlhe scnsc$hich, at holtom.rhFab_..rddres.es
is x \,ncc ot
bood. In fact, it seemsto be tlr(i c\penencctliat most deeply cricit,\ rcmpo-ralit).,oJ rime borh passir€ and to come, ntuItlnco1lsll
1q)_
literalistsensibilit),and that liicralist artistsseekto objcctify in thcir roaching drl recetlin{:, as if apprehended in ar inffnite pcrspccrive
work-for exanplc, by tlc rcpetition of identicalunjts (Judds oD| . .rs Ttus prnoccunlion mr,Ls a protound diocrencc
Lcnveen
thing ,ft$ anodrei ), \lhich cnrriesthe nnplcatior tlnt $e units irl rrr.rati\t$ort ind moJcrn;(tp, nting lrnds.ulprur..
questioncould be multiplied a(/ i,,fnttrr,.15 Smittrs accountof hi\ lt r\ rs though
oDcs erperienccof rhe laftcr lz ro duation_.ot
bccruse o"c ln
experienceon the un6nishcdturnfik. recordsthat cxciteDentall hul //ca erpdiences a pichrre by Nolanrt or Olitski or A scutprurcby
e\plicitl)'. Similarlv, lbrris's clrnn that in the best nerv rvork thc frrvid Smithor Crro in no tn,r ar rlJ.bur f,..nn. ,,t
beholderis made arvarethit "he hnDselfis establishingrclationship: coc,i n,on,,,r
I.t,ruorti itvtJ is ttltoll.'J rr,,ry'.v. Tljsish eot \culphrrc.l,\t tF
ns he apprchcndsthc objcct fronr various positiorsaDd rndcr v.rr!. ll'c ob! i,nrsfa,r th.rt.b€ing rhrPcdimFr.ion.,l,ir crn ir"
tng conclitionsof light rnd spaiialcontext"amountsto the claiD th.rl ,c", r,o,n
rn infinite numbcr of points of vic.$,.Ones expcrience
thc bcholderis made awareof the endlessness aDdine\haustibility l1 of r Caro is
not incompletc, and onc's convicrion as to jts quality
not o{ the object itself at any rate of his er?edence of it. This is not sus
pcnded,sinrph. btrruse one has secn ir only
ax'arenessis fur$er e\acerb.rtedby whai might be called the tnclr fio"r rvhcre o,re is
xt.nding. \Ioreovcr. in thc grip of his best lyork
sio,'rrss of his situation,that is, b!, the fact, rcDdkcd carlier, thal one,svielv o{ the
everlthing he obsenescountsas Dart of that situationand hcnce is u"l b"r$e.n.(!hrr,.essioD and\umc.eb ,\per!f,e or
,-ll3::.*l, x. ,f rh,. 6,.r {.c,r i kind of D,tu'Jrmetrpr;{ Jo, rr,,.
felt to bear in someway that rennins undennedon his expc;ence ol :.1l'ry,",1 "--l
..'ua b p'aent n nu, h Suft rtnl rrJinbns , p.o . up |.hi,n.u,
thc objcct. trh, T.n,rur,
\roreu\"!. trmDu
Ilere finall,s I \rant to emphasize something that may alread\ ll {r,- :., pr.tutim,nr. rir\_h,nire.e.r. ror.,.,mpr-.r,rr,,,r.r"n,
memun.norJe,...r..n. i ,nrLnrhc .\!r..i.
have becomeclear: the e)iperiencein questionpersxts in firn", arr(l .::1-:-,
n n m r li::'io _ i i , , . l , p r j l n . ( s . i - t n , r ri r , i , t - .,
" d - Fp ,ft. i l ' h ,,h ,A,r l e r r }r ; Jn d
tle prcsentmentoI endlessncss that, I barc bcen cliimiDg, is certtful i m F " l j . r . " i b r h ( . , r . , n J , e . *, h F t"u p r D - tp . r i .p U ,,.1 ri . ttr e ol
,i . \
to liter.tlistdt and thcory is csscntiall-\'aprescntBentof cndless,{)l ]lll l:"J:, ":-. . . 9" I n r,(h drhr ,o LennrF.r. Bo,h^mpl.v:."",.,y ,r.,i "..k
i. ,i
indcfinilc, (lrratron. Once ngain Smitht accountof his night drnc is lI"r', :J, a
. ,1 J {n . r . r - - e m q ,,d n . i - . o m p l Fr c.I.n r t,r ..L 4 r tto i n m i
u p o D o r r '/ i r . r , 'b r e . l . n , . ] ,,- l U D "."1 1 n . o t u t,,F,,.
rclcvant,as well as his remark,"trVecan't seeit [i.e.,tbe jar and. b\ ^l \j n S,r r i Fl tb m
implication,the cubel nr a second,Ne continueto read it." Monj\. nr..rR.^.r'. .ndrrrh LrJ ru,replJy.,ndi.orrrp
too, bas stated erplicitly, The erperienceof the rvork necessarill l:i:
rq,y6la"T"r,.pup.(.
and p, FaF nr \ ,nor
trdrior6_'l,e ,to-.1 Jn I rh" ..b.ir!tune(l xrrrffdJ
existsin time' thoug} it *ould make no difierenceif hc bad Dot o S r r , . i t : , o J. to tj h r .,tf n . r Tu n y Sm i r l l , r r $ l l
o F?,rtu,dcs.nbedrhc.riFrflp...!. 1! - S,,n r a L i { t- n .l "c"p ,* .; 1 1 ;, n 6 n ;.u
rs Tlat is, drc ddkl nnrnxr of strch units in N giver licce n fch to bc .rl, up b\ \,yrnc thal sum,rti{ se.\ibit\. n. ,n.,nif.{r,t in rt,.
trnry, nnd th€ pje.e itselt-despitc the Lteralist pr6€Dtation Nith sholi\ln **,", .,dnr\. .,d tndJnr .pu\ibdit! a,c bod, r/,"ar,nr?.
""1':' I ,to nor
fomFis s..n ns r frnsmL,rt oI. or (ut into, someihing infinitely hrg.r. lli\ i (o,rf,h,rehtood.s q\hc rh,rL,trLV,rrr.r.tr.rherrner.
or of thc most importu,t dillcrenc$ bctrvccn lit.{alist rvork tnd mod.ir'nr lllll ".ll,",_,, tnar srd( irr
tr,c Jhorp \hffr, turj.\ rJir J. drr: J !n,hpr.uou.
paintnrs, $|lich ha madc isclf r$poNible fo. ts phr;si€l timils as neler l), r J n n , c o )"*
l"::"j.,
A l mlur sor r s r ( 1 n b . , t c \ . ri b .d j . d r ,d b r d t ;, L i Jcn n e tr i \ su r .
for.. Notadi and Olilsl,i s paintnrsr a.€ t\ro oblios, atrd dill€r€nt, cites n, ,rlrsrrudprLF. otr thc,oilnr hdnd.i n
r ,r h Jp . n o r r j d r u ,r l .i J.n i n .,n c/ th r t
Don,t. It is il this conrcction, too. tllt ih€ importan€ of tle paint.\l brnn' 'r"mpr"or J sun"dr:'Idnd'c"pp
\n' rhc ri,r,d rro,an
Nound ihc bottom and th{, top of Olitslis sculpturc, Bdsa, tEcomc dr.r ;ll{l*..iff]"
144 Ari ond Obiecth@d t47

sculpture is, so to speNk,ecltps"d L)'$e sculpture itself-$ hich it is v l


plainly neaninglcss to spoak of as onl] pdr.rg' present. ) It is this This essayiyitl b€ read as an attack on ceiain artists (and critics)
continuoLs and cntjrc prcscntn.ss, amounting, as it \eeie, to th( ltt)das a defenseof others.And of courscit is true that the desireto
pcrpehral creation of itself, that oDe expcriences a.sa kind o{ inston. distinguish between \r'hat is to me the authentic art of our time and
taneou$ness:as though if onl) one Nere iDffnitcly morc acute, r other work, which, ivhatever rhc dedication.r,assion.and inrelli-
sinsle in6dtel)' brid{ iustant $ould be Iong enough to see crer}' g.nce ol ils creato^. s.pms to m. to share frtain ehararreristics
thing, to e\perie ce the sork in all its dep$ and frlllness, to h, ssociated here *ith the @nccpts of literalism and theatre, has
forever conrin.ed by it. (Hcrc it is $orth noting th^t t}le conccpt ol l.trgely motilated what I have wdften. In thcse last setrtences,how
interest implics tcmporalitr in thc folm of continuing attention di cver,I want to call attentionto the utter pewasiveness the vitual
rcctcd at the objcct, \'hcrcas the conccpt o{ con\iction does not.) I universalig- {f the scnsibilityor modc ot b€ing thar I luve char.rc,
want to claim that it is b) !irluc of thcir prcscntnessand inst.rnt ). k.rizcdas.omrpted or pcrvenedby thertre.\Vc re all Ul.ratirrs
ousness that modernjst prrinting and sculpiure defeat thcatre. LL all of ou livcs.Presentncssis srace.
fact, I rnn tempted f,u belol)d n)' krowledge to suggcst that, fac(.(l
'uostor
with the Decd to dclcat lhcairc, it is .ibove all to the condition .] lhrt jest {s t}e e$oscd lishtilg Br€c}t .dvocdtes l.s be.omc mer€ly a.other
painting rnd s.ulphrr('-thc coDclition,that is, of e)iisting iD, k 'k l o l t h q F r J , , a v c n r i o nr ^ r c , no r co ve r . |}l 1 t .Ir p n !t.4 ," r m p o j r ,l
n , l . D t n , C r . F d J t o n o t l r " n l i , r su k, J: th , n ,.l a ttd H o n\h $ o f
'ndef(l
of secrcting or constitutnrg, a continuous and perpetual p,ese,rl- J,,d d \
rir cube pi€.c in the Dvan Callety sho$,s), it is not cleir $,!erler rhe hnn-
that thc othcr coDk'Dporary nrodemjsi arts, most notably po.tr\ ,lling of time Brecht calls for is t.ntasount to .ut}entjc D.es.,ntn€ss. or mcrclv
and music, aspire.lt' r , , . , n . 'h , r L n d o f r , , . n . , i , . l o r h e !r e .p ,,r m ,.n l u D . i .., l t * r h n u si l
il rvere some sort of litenlisr - "t
r" $'hat ihls neans nr €x.I art \ill natuollt be dille.cnt. Fo. cxafrpl.. object. In poet.'. rle nccd for Dresentness mui_
n r h i l \ & l J i - l h . l ) n . p . , m : r h r r i . i n r t,_ ( r t r h "i r q ,,,r p . ,r . o "o r ,,"u n .n r .
mnsics situationis espe.jdllydil$cult in thrt mosic shares\ith ihe,i.e dr. F o r d r " t r . . i o n . o f d e 'r ', r " l c \ r h r tn th r s ( * ") ,"c C J\F , F- n I o n Bd .k-
@n\.c'tion,if I friy crll it thrt, of durdtioFa coNerrior ihat, I am srl. ttt\ Lnd Canp. Endinc rli. $c jng Crme, anJ thc A\oi,bn\F ot Love;
s€stins,lus it\.lf b.con. iD.r($hslr tle!rri..l. Besides,tbe ph]iicsl cn.unl Reading of Kirs If,ar, to be prblishcd in 6r We :\teaa Whar We Saq?
stan@sof a con.elt clos.ly resenble rhoseof a thealrical perfomnn.c. lt n.,\
hlve b€enthe deie f.r lonrethinglile prcsenrness ti.t, ar ler\t io some.\
tent, led Brccht t. adro.rt( a nonill$ioristi. tlatue, i! \rhich for e..'rrnpl,
tlre staselislitnrs vrl,l bc visiblero the audience,
in nhich the dctoB \oul,l
not id€ltily $ith th. lhir.ctes th€r Dln,ybut rathcr \rould slo\ rlremfo!tl,.
dnd jn \rhich t.mpohlity ilsclf \$onklbe prcse.icdh a neN w.y:
Just as the n.tor n. l{)hrer Ifls to pcNr.d€ the a,diencc tlr.t it is tlr'
author'schurct.r rnd rot }imself that is standinso! ihe stase,so .lso l,
need.ot pr.ten(l lhit llc rlenrs takins placeon tle stagchrve neverbar
relea*ed. n.d rn,rN\ l,rppcDin!for the fi6t and only rim€.Schill.r\ di.
tin.tion k ro lons.r vilidr tliflt the Ihn!)sodist
ld ro b€r his materialr'
{holly in tle pist; tho mine his, as \rhoily here md now. rt shouldl),
apDrurt all rl,ursh lis D€rfo.mance th.t er€n at tI€ stirt ind in th. nnl
ile he knors ho$ it .ndi nhd hr mast d,u\ miltain a calm indepeDd.n(
rb.oughout.' I Ic narrt.s Ilc (ory of his charactd by yivid port rril, al\\ r\ .
hno$nts more thrn it (lo.s rnd tr.nting nos' and 'hcre' .ot d a p€t.lti
nade possibl.b lh. r,l.s of the sme but s mcthing to be disti!!$isl,r,l
frcm yesterdry and !,me other place, so I to make vjsible tle kuottjll
toseiher of ihe events.( o. 194.)

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