Critics’ Picks

View of “Robert Morris,” 2010.

View of “Robert Morris,” 2010.

Lodz

Robert Morris

Muzeum Sztuki | MS1
Więckowskiego 36
June 24–October 24, 2010

Robert Morris’s ultimate importance is not as an artist but as a philosopher who happens to stage his arguments in the realm of art. This is not to negate the value of said arguments or even the potential aesthetic value of the objects he chooses to work with. But in comparison to those artists who retain an allegiance to the retinal, it seems only fair to say that Morris works in a relatively new space—or, at least, one whose canonical precedents lie in the realms of the literary and philosophical rather than the art-historical.

The works, then, serve as illustrations of Morris’s precepts: hence, his evasion of a signature style. With Morris, one never knows what one will get—a video lecture on Michelangelo’s David that also explores the “machismo at the heart of humanism” (The Birthday Boy, 2004); a piece of classical Minimalism (Two Columns, 1961); or works combining sound and objects (Box with the Sound of Its Own Making, 1961), all on view in this exhibition. The show, though not quite large enough to be called a retrospective, nevertheless succeeds in presenting a little bit of everything, including a complementary publication featuring extracts from many of Morris’s most important writings—a key supplement for those keen on exploring the deeper ideas surrounding his practice, ideas that are often only hinted at in the work itself.