PRINT May 1980

Ree Morton

IT WAS A COLD DAY in New York for early June. Standing under the FDR Drive at the edge of the East River exaggerated the chill, but the weather only put a physical edge on the tingle of excitement that I was already feeling. For a few friends and I had come to that spot to see something which another friend had made. Ree Morton had secured a moored sailing ship at the South Street Seaport Museum and had transformed it into her own vessel. And, she had told us, we were a part of it. That was all we knew as we approached the pier. . . .

After passing some of the more spectacular ships, that looked just the same as they always had, we came to the small fishing schooner, the Lettie G. Howard. It looked festive in contrast to these other sedate, historic relics. From deck to top masts, flags flew, just what one would expect of a ship adorned in celebration. But the flags were neither nautical nor national emblems; each was a unique, colored banner decorated with airborne objects—butterflies, kites, birds, clouds—and inscribed with a first name. Gradually, we began to decipher mutual friends, then to search for ourselves, to discover how Ree “saw” us, in color and metaphor. We could not look at this art from the traditional stance we had been trained to take; instead we were drawn into an enveloping network of human associations, visually articulated and interwoven by one among us. “I MADE A FLAG FOR EACH PERSON IN MY LIFE THAT I HAVE GOOD FEELINGS FOR, OR WHO I FEEL CONNECTED TO IN SOME WAY. IT WAS A CELEBRATION FOR THEM, AND A MEANS OF IDENTIFYING AND LOCATING MYSELF IN THE WORLD BY NAMING THE PERSONS WHO SURROUND ME.”1 The ship had not been radically altered, only gently claimed for our happy assembly. Unfurled in the open air of this impersonal city, we became a public paean to friendship. There it was—we were—out in the East River, together.

Such is the generative energy of Ree Morton’s art. It is about the artist’s place in the world. It is about a personal humanism, a vision shaped by her direct experiences, associations, and discoveries in that world. From these roots come the materials, the images, the meaning. Therefore, one must fully immerse oneself in Morton’s art in order to share it. Any passive or secondary response will never touch its vital quality of emotion. “I’m . . . involved with very immediate, tactile, emotional response to what’s there I mean it should trigger associations that you have because of who you are and that’s exactly what I want to allow you.”2

Emotion was the instigation of Morton’s art in the late ’60s. She did not emerge, instilled with the belief in art-making, from an academic world of studio preparation; as an undergraduate she studied nursing, the result of a familial misjudgment of her innate talents. “My career [as an artist] probably began at the age of three, when I took up watching ant hills and protecting lady bugs. This caused a long interruption in my artistic progress, because my family read it as an interest in science, and directed me to nursing.”3 She then became the wife of a Naval officer and the mother of three children. This is not exactly the usual biographical stuff of an artist. Yet the need to seek a visual expression for her ideas became more and more insistent. “As soon as I realized the mistake, I started studying art, but it was already 1963. . . .”4 By firmly redirecting her life she found the way to give release to those insistent ideas. Only then did she seek the support of academic discipline, first at the University of Rhode Island (B.F.A.). This educational experience gave her a sense of history and encouraged confidence, but it did not dictate her repertoire of forms or the ideas which determined them. Such visual projection would come solely and directly out of Morton herself.

From the beginning, Ree Morton combined the sensuality of surface—a seismography of the inner workings of a material—and its dynamic of movement through three dimensions—a projection of the energy of that material. Immediately she determined for herself a reactive position in acknowledgement of the inherent properties of substances. Her art became an articulation of those qualities as she came to understand them or to wonder at them. Her act of making became a communion between the substance and herself—neither one dominant, but each activating the other in a process of mutual revelation.

An untitled work, exhibited in the 1970 Sculpture Annual of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, unfolds in a delicate fan of wood slats attached to a wooden spine—the allusive skeleton of a fish. It holds the horizontal of the floor but is not constrained there as one edge of each fanblade reaches a position perpendicular to the floor. It is firm but resilient, defining its material properties without becoming bound up in the process of definition. The organic vitality presses on the viewer.

Also in 1970 Morton introduced in her work two other considerations: drawing on wooden wall constructions (e.g., Wood Drawings, 1971) and incorporation of artificial light sources (e.g., The 2nd Light Piece, 1970). The drawing charts her hand as it discovers, articulates, invents; the synthetic light acknowledges a whole other territory which coexists, at times less than peacefully, with the natural. These issues, in varying measure, would impel her art through the ’70s.

For a while, as if to insist on the viability of the natural world, Morton constructed essentially out of its elements. During 1971 and 1972 hermetic worlds were laid out against walls and in corners. Tree branches determine the primary structure which then generates in dotted line and projected wall drawing. Only attendantly does a man-made object enter the boundaries of these hallowed places (e.g., an untitled work of August 1971, which includes a metal dolly with branches, rock, and paint). Inside their perimeters such things seem to soften and yield to new terms. Morton never physically mutilates them, just changes their expected context and thereby offers a new sense of them. Eventually a more definite geometry penetrates these introspective places, but it never becomes the controlling factor. Instead, it too softens in its natural surroundings.

An untitled work of February 1972 is demarcated by two isosceles triangles and a semicircle. Here, paper with capricious, feathered edges spans the triangles. Its surface is touched with an array of painted lines which only approximate the vertical in their declaration of joyous, personal signature. Two almost straight branches lean against the paper surfaces and create little right triangles in playful mimicry of their larger relatives. The semicircle is charted by a line of flour which meanders along instead of succumbing to its particular geometry. Pieces of twigs nestled in the flour continue the dotted line of tape that runs along the legs of the triangles while at its midpoint the semicircle breaks to accommodate an open rectangle that rises up like a portal or sighting, through which to perceive the inner sanctum.

A rectangular slab of wood seems to have dropped out of the center to present a grand branch that rises higher than any of the constructed elements, which now all seem ancillary, in its shadow, in its control. This branch spans the semicircle and rests against the wall, its natural form possessing the firmness of a ruled line and the resilience of a grown one. Its sturdy stem proliferates into smaller and smaller branches, reverberating against the shower of painted lines on the paper triangles. The bifurcations create natural triangles that make of the constructed ones mere echoes, which appear because of conscious decision, not the needs of growth. And this branch of the natural world, painted from brown at its base to sky blue at its tips, comes to signify the whole of that world.

The entire configuration moves in ritual—not invented in an attempt on the part of the artist to comprehend unseen forces of a fearsome world but rather projected by that world as a natural action of its existence. If this assembly is intended to make visible the five levels of humans’ interaction with their environment, as defined by Christian Norbert-Schulz,5 then Morton permits the extensive natural world to dominate villages, houses, furnishings, and the body’s own proportions. Yet this supremacy of nature signals triumph rather than repression. Humankind can better comprehend its place if there is interaction with the evolving natural context to seek mutual understanding: “ . . . the work becomes a marker for where you are and what you think. And if it’s exactly where you are at that time, then it’s fine. . . . I see a lot of the work I do as being an event . . . ”6

Such structures gathered force in Morton’s work over the next few months. The uncovering of natural ritual aroused her curiosity about others who devised ritual in order to penetrate the world. “I really love Stonehenge or any kind of situation where there is location which somehow has been set aside for a purpose whose meaning is not clear, or a place where there have been left markings by people whose meaning is not clear but you know that people were there and that they were doing something with that space.”7 This interest does not make Morton’s subsequent work mere archaeological illustration. Indeed, one of her primary stimuli at this time was a writer, a novelist, who himself fantasized about distant places and alien characters. In 1910 Raymond Roussel had written Impressions of Africa, “a book that just sort of invaded my life, and I couldn’t think about anything else for a period of maybe nine months and finally I just incorporated it into a piece.”8

Roussel’s continental scope prompted Morton’s extensive visual parallel to progressive developments, Sister Perpetua’s Lie, installed in 1973 at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Its three components turn a corner in aligning themselves against two interior walls. They are linked by a continuous black wooden “line” that seems to ooze out of a treestump “sentry,” move across the floor, step up the wall in broken sections to delimit a rectangle, head back across the floor to intercept a partner sentry, move off at 90 degrees to meet the adjacent wall, creep for a bit along its bottom edge, leap away from the wall to erect a slender rectangular armature, seek the wall again, then build and surround a cage or crib, which terminates the sequence. Having traveled this physical distance, one realizes that he or she has traversed a personal saga, of which the heavy tree trunk may be considered the protagonist.

First one observes twelve codified events charted, like tablets of law, around a focal statement within the wall rectangle. Its epigrammatic message quotes Roussel: “To the question, ‘Is this where the fugitives are hiding?’ the nun, posted before her convent, persistently replied, ‘No,’ shaking her head from right to left after each deep peck of the winged creatures.” The surrounding events, as labelled, range from the clandestine—“The Secret Correspondence” and “The Signal”—through the sinister—“The Sergeant-Major’s Jealousy” and “The Rebellious Bravo”—to the horrific—“The Fatal Blow,” “The Guilty Man Dies” and “The Morgue.” Our protagonist, seen first at the left and then at the right, surveys an inquisition . . . or is this investigation being directed at him, her or Sister Perpetua? Is her quoted reply a fabrication?

A stunted version of our heroine is pulled under the frame of the next sequence, whose form teeters on the ambiguity between a wishing well and a guillotine. The judgment of Sister Perpetua’s answer is held in suspension—condemned or saved? For the truth or the lie?

In the climax the protagonist is trapped in a cage, whose power of confinement seems more ethical than physical. And our heroine’s projected mark or shadow appears three times on the cage floor, three times on the cage antechamber, and once in ghostly outline on the cage lid—raised and detached as a piece of canvas washed with gray and tacked to the wall. The cut edges of the caged treestump are painted gray, etched in white, an indelible mark of conviction. In this temporal exposition Sister Perpetua seems to act as the surrogate for the artist and the viewer as she penetrates a structure only to be ensnared by it. There is the suspicion of artificiality, of fantasy governing natural law, hence forcing the lie, making it inevitable.

If Sister Perpetua’s Lie was the first piece in which natural and synthetic forces collide, thereafter Morton worked with generous optimism to achieve their effectual coexistence. To Each Concrete Man, installed at the Whitney Museum in 1973, offers just such a positive conjunction. Out of the cavernous public space Morton makes a sacred chamber, dark at the center, mysteriously lit at either end, where two spare assemblies collect. A stage of latex flagstone—“I just loved the material, that it’s latex and that you can punch it. I think it’s funny.”9—challenges the natural slate museum floor. Though a bright, even light comes from high above, a string for bare bulbs suggests the makeshift performance platform of a local grange hall. Four “actors” stand there expectantly. Each is a rectangle supported on two wooden legs, a tabula rasa for the imminent experience. Facing this display is the “audience”: four treetrunk segments on thin wooden pegs barely able to support their bulk. Hovering low over each, featuring each in its own spotlight, is a suspended bulb shielded by a taut rawhide shade. These characters huddle near the ground, each defined by its own form and illumination, yet all bearing a family resemblance. Could this spotlighted audience be vying for an active performance role? Do the shy actors on the stage wish a transference of role as well?

The surrounding walls are painted sensuously in gray, except in the area behind the stage; this is a dazzling white. Swatches of bright-colored papers are pinned in confetti celebration to the walls around the stage. Otherwise, optimism is tentative, anticipant, while performers and audience take each other’s measure—as though each has just become aware of his opposite, his complement. In that awareness each recognizes the opportunity for fuller self-comprehension through knowledge of his dialectical counterpart.10 Synthesis then becomes possible. And the viewer can be the instrument of that synthesis as he stands at the physical midpoint between both. “I have certain feelings about the mood of the space at the Whitney, as being a very soft space. . . . I think it’s really a one person space and I think ideally you should go into that space alone. I think it’s really sort of about one person being in the middle of a room between those two pieces.”11

The exuberance that flared in the colored pieces of paper adorning the Whitney walls, only to be subdued by the quiet of the large, public space, was to be contained no longer. Almost immediately Bake Sale appeared at the Philadelphia College of Art. Like the stage/shrine dedicated To Each Concrete Man, Bake Sale erects an altar—to confection. Its slab is covered with synthetic, marbelized tiles, its feet with wood-grain wallpaper. The baldachin is gaudy pink. But even that florid color cannot restrain the flurry of celastic12 bows which decorate the wall, both within and outside of the sanctuary. An ordinary event played out in every school, church, and fraternity of America is acknowledged for the ritual that it is. Synthetics no longer slip in surreptitiously or stand in opposition to nature. Now they offer up the natural—food—in unabashed mutual promotion.

This release of funky plastics did not mean that Morton had lost interest in natural phenomena. It was entirely possible that these glittery materials might call even more attention to the intricacies and vagaries of the natural world—by comment rather than example. On a field of wallpaper where jungle creatures parade, a pink banner proclaims the title of the work, The Plant That Heals May Also Poison, 1974. Pinned by flashing white light bulbs to the banner’s unfurled spread are five bright ribbons—celastic, of course—each championing one of the exotic flora. The glow of the lights catches a border of glitter, which adds just the right touch to the banner. Unlike the narrative implications of the language in Sister Perpetua’s Lie, the words here are either declarative or allusive. A specific situation is not described or pursued over time; there is only the power of suggestion in the abstract. The dialogue is still between nature and synthetics. But the two are no longer seen as separate, competitive elements. In Bake Sale the synthetic had huckstered the natural; now the synthetic reveals the natural. And that revelation is not clarifying or soothing. Instead it bespeaks a threatening aspect beneath alluring appearance.

For Ree Morton the delicious abandon of a plastic world would hereafter become the instrument of revelation—of itself, of its natural counterpoint, of the intangible exchanges which define human encounters over time. Occasionally, the plastic attempts to stop time, to seize the idea through the sign of language. And all the while Morton insists on optimism, with the buoyancy and vitality of her materials. Against a painted field of sky blue and white puffy clouds waft three snappy prize ribbons, which champion the following idea and title: Let Us Celebrate While Youth Lingers and Ideas Flow, 1975. These bright pink banners, arrested in reaction to a stiff breeze, are topped by dark blue, wooden decals, on which folksy Pennsylvania Dutch decorations have been painted. An elegant white celastic swag and pea-green, scalloped valances frame this tableau vivant of the ’70s. The Renaissance “window-on-the-world” has been revived, but the view is not one of the assuring rationality of an apparent natural order. Actually, it offers tempting possibilities for a metaphoric territory previously uncharted.

Individual elements of Morton’s work embody a teasing ambiguity. The meaning of the whole can be as malleable as its elastic materials. According to Morton, “. . . probably the only thing that I absolutely insist on is that you can’t see it wrong.”13 Yet the motives propelling her from work to work reveal an undeniable logic: the governing sensibility of one mind, one temperament, coming to know better and better the world and her place in it. Therefore, it was only a matter of time before these vigorous tableaux leapt beyond their boundaries to claim a wider place.

The immediate stimulus for a certain environmental joie de vivre may have been Southern California: “since I came to california in september [1975], i’ve stopped smoking, gained five pounds, gone clamming with mike and elizabeth, gotten ested, bought chineese [sic] paper cutouts in tiajuana, and gotten an amfm 8-track for my van (installation by island services, Thank You George). . . . i sleep more and cry less than i did in New York.”14 But the seed had always been there. It needed only the San Diego sun to encourage its full gestation. Devil Chaser, 1976, has all negative sentiments on the run. Brightly colored celastic ribbons over a wire armature bound across the floor and generate circles around the room as they skywrite the name of a wonderful plant, “devil chaser,” and weave a wicker fence around its garden. The plant itself grows in crazed celastic tendrils on a ground of green, mock lizard skin. Three plaques situated like proper botanical labels in a public garden inform of the capabilities of this plant: “to reveal the presence of witches, to ward off destruction by lightning, to cure demoniacs. You never know when you might need one.” A measure of Californian common sense—if ever such advice were uttered.

Once she had totally engaged the interior space, in the summer of 1976 Ree Morton took on the landscape. Again the logic is inescapable: first, natural materials; then the challenge between natural and synthetic, the exploration of artificial materials commenting on the natural, their expansion into a full interior environment; and now a desire to move around in the land.

At Artpark, Lewiston, New York, Morton let fly her celastic arsenal across fields and against the backdrop of waterfalls. Picture-postcard paintings based on polaroids of how Morton saw the place basked on its very rocks. Yet, magically, nothing was violated; this grand landscape and Morton’s objects shared an easy coexistence. She wished “TO INCREASE THE THEATRICAL, DRAMATIC QUALITY ALREADY PRESENT AT THE SITE; . . . TO MAKE CLEAR; TO MAKE VISIBLE; TO SET APART; TO HAVE NOTICED IN A SPECIAL WAY. . . .”15

Indeed, Regarding Landscape, the unique presence of Morton herself in this land, reveals more than we might otherwise see and know about either separately. The 100-foot ribbon of arches decked with streamers and flowers initiates a sprightly lateral movement at the base of two waterfalls; it links them and sets them off. The paintings, displayed as a part of the environment which gave them rise, define one person’s reaction to the spot, a visual paradigm for other spectators. And they declare an unembarrassed romantic pleasure in nature’s seduction.

Things springing up in the land encouraged even more action in Morton’s subsequent pieces. What better subject than the melodrama of a sacrifice to that land, The Maid of the Mist, given Morton’s unique twist in “a symbolic rescue”16 seizing not only the physical character of this place but also its ritual potency, Morton intercepts legend: the annual offering of a maiden sent over the falls to become bride of the river. (Like Sister Perpetua, she is married to an unseen deity.) With ladder—encouraging movement up or down—and life preservers made into floral wreaths—at the same time offering a lifeline and commemorating a death—Morton proposes to save the maid from her fate by acting as intercessor, a role she had ever more frequently come to assume: “THE ACTION. . . . . . . . . THE LADDER AND WREATHS WERE CARRIED DOWN THE GORGE TO THE SITE ON THE LOWER GORGE TRAIL. THE LADDER WAS PLACED ON THE HILL, WITH ITS FEET IN THE WATER, AND ITS TOP REACHING THE PATH, ONE OF THE WREATHS WAS TIED TO SHORE, NEAR THE LADDER, AND FLOATED IN THE WATER. I TIED THE OTHER TO MY WAIST, WITH A 70 FT ROPE. I THREW THE WREATH INTO THE WATER, AND THE CURRENT TOOK IT AWAY. WHEN THE ROPE WAS TAUT, I CUT IT WITH A KNIFE, AND THE WREATH FLOATED FREE. THE RESCUE HAD BECOME A MEMORIAL EVENT.”17 Morton’s act of salvation is a bestowal of freedom rather than a bodily rescue.

The ladder that provided the conduit to, from, for the maid of the mist reappeared in another context, an indoor world of emblems. “Emblems . . . were and are a species of hieroglyphics, in which the figures or pictures, besides denoting the natural objects to which they bear resemblances, were employed to express properties of the mind, virtues and abstract ideas, and all the operations of the soul. . . . THEY MAY BEAR ANY MEANING THAT MEN MAY CHOOSE TO ATTACH TO THEM . . .”18 These things became Signs of Love, made in 1976, installed at the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1977, and assembled in various other configurations in various other places. It is an array of personal evidences, of things in varying degrees of concretion: yellow ladders, ribbon-rungs attached by roses, as passage; celastic drapery swags as memorial; roses with streamers as gifts; paired pictures of a Renaissance Prince and Princess in painted floral frames as reminiscence; words as abstractions. All derive from aspects of life with private meaning to Morton. But because those special things touch the core of Morton’s being, they touch the viewer in a universal affirmation.

Concurrent with these participatory works of 1976–77, Ree Morton produced a group of quiet, gentle paintings, Regional Pieces. The distillation and combination of her natural comprehensions and synthetic expressions, these works comprise two vertically aligned units. Each panel is an oil painting on wood, the top a seascape, the bottom a fish; each is framed with celastic draping. The seascapes embody the generic character of symbol, the idea of place—no accident that the first purely American pictorial symbol was also the land itself. Since being in California, Morton had recognized the spectacle: “i watched the other day while the horizon line softened, and the ocean and sky turned the same pink, in almost no time at all this big orange ball fell back behind the water, courtesy of California Special Effects. who could have guessed the reason behind all those paintings catching The Moment, now i know.”19 The fish suggests a mounted trophy won from successful competition in that land. It could just as easily be a close-up view of the life under the water that we see in the vista above. Both images share the same colors; therefore they must be of the same place. The drapes part to reveal these placid worlds. The one is vast and distant, the other circumscribed and near—the macrocosm and microcosm.

The world afar and up close has always been Ree Morton’s subject—not with the traditional objective of replicating it but in her personal way of entering it. She has come to know its myriad appearances, to accept its tantalizing contradictions, to revel in its lovely secrets. This singular view of the world makes her art intensely subjective. Yet that subjectivism is not an imposition. It offers a unique comprehension of Morton’s place in the world, and neither that world nor Morton has remained static in this decade-long dialogue. “By indicating the variations and equivalency of perceptions at every level of experience, I am emphasizing a relativistic concept of art in contrast to the traditional independent objective one. By discussing learning, I am stressing the particular relationship of the total perception to things, events, and states that preceded it rather than to the sensory data of which it is also comprised; the aesthetic experience is placed in the continuum of time rather than entirely in the perceptual present.”20

Morton’s art concerns activation, interaction, change. This personal vision succeeds in communicating through the truth of its response. The only constant is Morton, who intersects with all of the experiences that comprise societal existence. She attempts to make visible sense of them by projecting their caprice into the forms of her creation. “A work of art has a unique quality—it is that of clarifying and concentrating meaning contained in scattered and weakened ways in the material of other experiences.”21 She allows herself to be carried along by circumstantial discovery. “My perspective is situational, meaning here a concern for what one individual can be alive to at a particular moment . . . ”22 She encourages the flexible, the ambiguous, the metamorphic. “I start with the fact that from an individual’s particular point of view, while one thing may momentarily appear to be what is really going on, in fact what is actually happening is plainly a joke, or a dream, or an accident, or a mistake, or a misunderstanding, or a deception or a theatrical performance . . .”23 She wrests order from her apperception of “some of the basic frameworks of understanding available in our society for making sense out of events and . . . analyze[s] the special vulnerabilities to which these frames of reference are subject.”24 She has only herself to rely on, to make the associations, to maintain the connections. And that is precisely the position she offers to the viewer before her work.

This attitude seems to me totally appropriate to the decade of Ree Morton’s activity. The ’60s had determined absolute positions. One had to be either for or against: the war in Vietnam, racial integration, equality for women. Collective action was demanded; subtleties of argument were often lost. Much of the art produced at that time was declamatory; firm, smooth objects asserted exclusive formalist criteria. But in the ’70s attention deflected to, and judgment developed on, the individual. He had either to make peace with the world from his particular vantage or to wage a lonely fight. Morton’s art seems to me perfectly attuned to that shift. It is inclusive, seeking its various tangible forms and their changing relation to one another in the natural and social circumstances of its time. No precise boundaries—either physical or conceptual—are drawn. Ultimately, its meaning depends on the diverse experiences of the viewers who acknowledge it.

Ree Morton’s art declares the fundamental principle of making art to affirm our humanity. In that assertion she respects the visual history. Art that looks like what has gone before is called imitation, yet the history reveals that all art has been about discovery. Morton, in her search for a visualization of her world in the ’70s, fulfills the spirit of that history by enriching its discoveries.

Her latest inquiries—made final by a fatal automobile accident in April 1977—worked Manipulations of the Organic. If the natural and plastic excesses of California had excited her vivid indoor and outdoor responses, the ornament of the 19th-century architect Louis Sullivan shaped her Chicago impressions. A series of calm paintings, arranged in a frieze against a gray ground, explore this theme and its variations. Each amorphous form strains and swells against its boundaries to realize its vitality. A smaller, ghostly image suggests how far its gestation may have already proceeded. This sequence hints at a sobering of Morton’s art. “It seems to me that things have to be more serious—that the lightness and joyousness of the last three years [1974, 1975, 1976] has been a good thing but now it is time to clarify, and to find the meaning.”25 But sobriety does not mean safety. In these last paintings the power of growth reaches maximal force.

Ree Morton pursued the essential purpose for art. And she warmed to its challenge, accepting “the responsibility of the artist . . . to be free, and while in that freedom, to look, and to see while looking, and to feel, and to respond while feeling, and to be romantic, and to love the romance.”26 Her legacy is a decade of wondrous visualization that insists on “a life of its own and can continue to grow of itself, and find new meanings, and change its meaning, and contradict its original meaning, and live . . . ”27

Mary Delahoyd writes frequently on contemporary issues in the arts.



1. The exhibition catalogue, Attitudes Towards Space Environmental Art, Mount St. Mary’s Art Gallery, Los Angeles, California, 1977; cited in the exhibition catalogue, Ree Morton Retrospective 1971–1977, The New Museum, New York, 1980, as are all Morton quotations in this essay.

2. Taped interview by Lyn Blumenthal and Kale Horsfield, New York, 1974.

3. Application for John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Grant, 1976.

4. Ibid.

5. Allan Schwartzman and Kathleen Thomas in “Ree Morton: A Critical Overview,” essay for the exhibition catalogue, Ree Morton Retrospective 1971–1977, The New Museum, New York, 1980, pp. 21–22, indicate that Norberg-Schulz’s theory developed in Existence, Space and Architecture is the reference for this work, though they cite no direct evidence from Morton herself. While this certainly may be a valid source. I offer more general possibilities as well.

6. Taped interview, Oxbow, Michigan, summer 1975.

7. Blumenthal-Horsfield interview, 1974.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Schwartzman-Thomas essay, pp. 37–40, offers other interpretative possibilities.

11. Blumenthal-Horsfield interview, 1974.

12. Celastic is a rolled plastic which becomes pliable when dipped in acetone.

13. Blumenthal-Horslield interview, 1974.

14. Journal (Southern California Art Magazine, The Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art), March–April 1976.

15. Attitudes Towards Space Environmental Art, 1977.

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid.

18. Notebook, 1974.

19. Journal, 1976.

20. Notebook, 1975–76.

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid., 1976.

23. Ibid.

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid., February 1, 1977.

26. Ibid., February 1975.

27. Ibid.