PRINT November 1973

Nature as Artifact: Alan Sonfist

THE TRADITIONAL PICTORAL AND PLASTIC media all presume a certain range of free choice in the creation of an art object. Effects which are difficult to achieve are expressive and distinctive, those which are easy to achieve are inexpressive and mundane. The constraints are provided by the skill of the artist, the properties of his tools and materials, the strength of his desire to accomplish certain goals, and the achievements of other artists involved in similar work. In his efforts to be expressive or distinctive, the artist must challenge his constraints in some way. Today, the constraints are no longer material; they are mental. The means for reforming substance into whatever arrangements one can imagine are now at hand. The routine manufacture of solid-state electronics, chemical polymers, pharmaceuticals, structurally programmed alloys and composite materials, etc., are examples of

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