TOO OFTEN, TOO MANY of us talk one theory but live another. In his rigorous examination of the possibilities of perception, and his always renewed wonder before the world and the open act of seeing, Robert Irwin’s career exemplifies the committed, moral, nondogmatic union of theory and practice. In his current traveling retrospective, as installed at Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art this summer, the viewer experienced his most recent work first; but the exhibition also featured a selection of Irwin’s early Abstract Expressionist–inspired works (including a wonderful display of his “handheld” paintings, which, however, one was not allowed to touch), his line and dot paintings, the light discs, the cast-acrylic columns, and finally a series of photographs and plans documenting, first, the explorations of interior and exterior space that for some link Irwin with the Light and Space

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