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PRINT March 2005

BLACK WHOLE: THE ART OF BARRY LE VA

BARRY LE VA’S ART OF THE LATE 1960s SO PERFECTLY typified the advanced aesthetic strategies of that turbulent moment that one almost feels he would have to have been invented if he didn’t already exist. His sculptures represented a heightened, take-no-prisoners distillation of ideas drifting in the air, which in relative isolation and with almost telepathic clairvoyance he synthesized in an extremely original way. In November 1968, the completely unknown, twenty-seven-year-old California artist appeared on the cover of Artforum, with an image of a large stretch of wooden floor, scattered with apparently random strips and little scraps of gray felt. Inside the magazine were pictures of various installations with myriad fragments of cloth, ranging from large bolts to ribbons and tiny cuttings, dispersed across the floor in enormous and otherwise empty rooms. With their emphatically horizontal

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