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Richard Artschwager

Richard Artschwager, 2008. Photo: Ann Artschwager.

ED RUSCHA

WHEN I SAW Richard’s Formica works in the mid-1960s, I was amazed. There’s something about Formica—it seemed like the wonder surface of the day. (But it always made my palms itch.) Taking that on was a very brave thing for an artist to do. There must have been something in Richard that made him go for this new material. He saw some possibility in it and acted on it. The way he made the edges come together and mitered them: He was a master at that. And he was fortunate to have the skills of a finish carpenter; he knew all those little angles. He did lots of sharp corners and that sort of thing. He wasn’t a great believer in Minimalism, I don’t think, but what he made commented on Minimalism.

Richard was mindful of the functional aspect of furniture. He just took it to another area, and he was so good at it. Recently, paging through a book, I was surprised by a picture

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