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YO MORRIS

IN AN INTERVIEW CONDUCTED as his recent retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, was about to open (Artforum, April 1994), Robert Morris was asked his views on the large topic of “other artists.” He answered in a noncommittal way, saying that he admired any number of artists of the past but specifying only his most obvious lodestone in Marcel Duchamp. “The only one I vaguely despise,” he added, “is Picasso.”

Having read this exchange on my way to the Guggenheim, it stayed with me as I walked through the exhibition, for the one other artist who insistently kept coming to mind was none other than Picasso—a fact that suggests some disavowed self-knowledge in Morris’ remark. Of course there were others whose actual imprint on the work was far more obvious and expected: Duchamp, Jasper Johns, Barry Le Va, Robert Smithson, Chris Burden, even (surprisingly for me) Morris Louis

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