PRINT November 2010


View of “Hors-Jeu” (Out of Bounds), 2001, gb agency, Paris. Foreground: Robert Breer, Float, 1970. Middleground: Robert Breer, Rug #5, 1965. Background: Robert Breer, Beam, 1966. Photo: Marc Domage.

I SAW ROBERT BREER’S SCULPTURES before I saw his films—nearly ten years ago, when looking at photographs of the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka. Funny things, white fiberglass domes that stood like alien statuary in a monumental drape of fog. Little did I know that these mesmeric objects would actually have been moving: They crept glacially, only to reverse direction whenever they bumped into anything.

Breer’s career is no easier to pin down. A looming but fugitive presence in postwar art, he is legendary as an experimental filmmaker; periodically, his other work will startlingly come to the fore, then recede again into our fickle histories. The artist’s pioneering practice has been just as mercurial and expansive. Breer began his mature work while in Paris on the GI Bill, around the same time Ellsworth Kelly was there; collaborated with Jean Tinguely and Pontus Hultén; orbited

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