PRINT October 2014


Dyed Indian bag, Korean, designed for Chinese market, early twenty-first century, cloth. From the collection of Richard Tuttle. © Nick Danziger.

YOU CAN HOLD A RICHARD TUTTLE IN YOUR HAND. This fact alone has set the artist’s work apart from that of many of his peers, ever since he produced his systematically cut white cubes of 1964, each only three inches per side. Tuttle’s diminutive solids proposed a kind of presence wholly unlike that of Minimalism’s comparatively towering objects, which were assertive and obdurate and scaled to the full height of the body rather than to its grasp.

But if the modest—sometimes minuscule—size of Tuttle’s pieces has led many to describe his practice as self-effacing, quiet, or demure, such characterizations seem slightly off. The artist’s works are humble, but they aren’t withdrawn. Their impact is palpable, unruly, even unmooring. When, in 1967, Tuttle began making his dyed-cloth pieces by saturating sections of canvas with household Tintex, he fused color with support, the soaked hue

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