Critics’ Picks

Richard Tuttle, Fiction Fish I, 1, 1992, graphite, pigment, and modeling paste on cardboard, graphite line, 4 x 4".

New York

Richard Tuttle

Pace | 510 West 25th Street
510 West 25th Street
May 6–June 11

“26,” the title of Richard Tuttle’s solo exhibition here (which refers to the number of previous one-man shows the artist has had in New York since 1965) gives us a deep view into a fully substantiated system with a coherent internal logic—fifty years of artistic hits that have subtly bent and shaped art history. These works, though profound in effect, are humble in facture. For instance, in Red Dots, Deep Maroon over Green, 1986, the hot glue doesn’t hide its job as binding. The work’s materials, such as stickers, masking tape, and Styrofoam, don’t fuss with pretenses—they are what they are. And in 10th Wire Piece, 1972, the artist feels virtually absent, but in the best way: The torqued wire delineates space simply and directly while quietly revealing some ineffable truth. At times, however, his configurations feel more distinctly wrought, particularly in the sprawling Systems, IX, 2012—one senses that Tuttle steadily kneaded this piece from concept to object.

The show’s strongest works, such as the aforementioned wire piece or Fiction Fish I, 1,1992—a graphite line leading to baby-blue modeling paste and a hot-pink rectangle, hung just above the gallery’s floorboards—materialize with an almost supernatural elegance. The curved, green-painted paper intersecting with a dribbling brown splotch painted onto the wall in Titel 3, 1978, snaps the background plane into focus while simultaneously confusing figure and ground. Knottier still is the sense that these grounded abstractions are numinously harnessed manifestations: nonlinear, contingent realities of what’s right here and yet to be.