new-york

Keith Sonnier

Leo Castelli Gallery

As trite as it might sound, art is not a seed, but a flowering; not a promise, but a realization over time. One-shot greatness, as in the spectacular first one-person show, is only a promise. An artist’s work gains meaning only as it matures along with the artist. There is no “ideal greatness” in art which can be used to measure an isolated achievement. And the use of art history to place unknown art on a graded curve seems to me a way of avoiding the work by comparing it to a model. Art generates meaning over time for both viewer and artist, as successive works focus attention on primary concerns and multiply the possibilities inherent in these concerns. Art is an ongoing activity, not a one-shot deal.

Keith Sonnier surprised viewers with his first work in the late ’60s, the beautiful, ethereal neon and flocking sculptures. He seemed to be possessed of the most refined color sense, with

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