philadelphia

Robert Morris

ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia

At first glance, from the ground floor of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Robert MorrisLabyrinth looks like one of his earlier Minimal pieces: a fiberglass or plywood ring (here, masonite), painted his usual very light gray. But it is 8 feet high and 30 feet in diameter—therefore more barrenly intimidating, a sort of unearthly gas tank in a museum. I enter aslant, through its straight, narrower than me, bisecting passageway. About 2 yards ahead, the left wall curves convexly out of view to the right. So begins the first gambit of the labyrinth. I think of words starting with “m”: misgiving, Minimal, minatory, Minotaur.

Imprisoned within the concentric circularities of the interior, and watchful for their hairpin turns, I am possessed by an excited resentment. Higher than many, my eyes cannot track any of the overhead gallery lights, as if my internal sextant had gone awry. Left and

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