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PRINT May 1977

Snelson and Structure

IT IS THE UNFILLED HOPE of many artists to show in a space designed for their work. Opening his new one-man show in Berlin this month, Kenneth Snelson may come close to that. His new pieces are installed in Mies Van der Rohe’s new National Gallery, a gleaming glass and steel building designed with exposed structural beams, and covering an extensive exhibition area without the interruption of vertical supports. What could be better suited to a man for whom structure is the essence of beauty? In fact, Snelson’s dedication to the pursuit of structural purity has caused him some of the most prolonged distrust and thorough misunderstanding of any contemporary artist. Disparagingly labelled a structural designer, straddling lines between defined schools of work, he has been accused of a derivative relation to his own system and has even been falsely charged with imitating his own invention.

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