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PRINT April 1978

Richard Nonas: Boundary Works

RICHARD NONAS’ WORK USES MINIMAL forms and working procedures for the realization of goals radically different from those of the artists who developed that formal language in the mid-’60s. Unlike other post-Minimalists, Nonas did not feel compelled to jettison an established vocabulary and, in reaction, to forge an entirely new one. The choice of remaining partially within a Minimalist mode held out to him the prospect of achieving a more disquieting and subversive overturning of the original meanings of its terms. His work thus involves an undermining of expectations, an erosion of certainties and stabilities. We frequently encounter his work in terms of tensions between the immediate legibility of his forms and how he inserts them in a given space to generate a web of effects that is not decipherable: how they set up a spatial field that is disorienting and polyscenic. From the beginning

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