PRINT February 1983


THE DESIRE TO SCULPT IN full relief, to elaborate a vertical monolith as a statue, raises the question of what had originally forbidden this desire. What is the origin and nature of the opposition to image? A full understanding of the way in which Modernism carried on a certain iconoclasm benefits from an examination of the biblical treatment of statues, or, more accurately, the question of idols. Here lies the root of a form of puritanical censorship in the formalist reduction of sculpture to its own problematic. The dramatic conflict inherent in becoming a Modern sculptor has been extraordinarily expressed by David Smith in various interviews and in his work itself (Puritan Landscape, 1946, Spectre of Mother, 1946).

It was with the birth of monotheism that the statues worshipped by the cults of idols were destroyed. Everyone who worshipped an idol, everything linked to magic, to superstition,

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 1983 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.