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Ronald Bladen

RON BLADEN’S WORK IS SURPRISINGLY difficult to talk about. Most commentary on it has been terribly bland, stopping usually at description. This apparent foiling of criticism can’t be a function of the Minimal character of the work because people seem to find it easy enough to discuss Robert Morris’ work or Tony Smith’s. At the same time my feeling is that Bladen’s best pieces are the ones that are hardest to talk about. Writing about the difficulty of writing is a ruse I resent when other people do it, but I think that the way Bladen’s art poses this difficulty really has a lot to do with how and when his work succeeds.

One thing common to Morris’ and Smith’s Minimal pieces of the mid-’60s is a concern with what is given in an experience and what is not. Morris’ arrays of solid boxes, for instance, make the viewer feel that any visual or, so to speak, sculptural information about them can

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