New York

Tony Smith

Pace | 32 East 57th Street

Ten Elements is the title of a recent work by Tony Smith. It’s a fine sculpture but, as it looks like a model for a larger project, it’s hard to know how it should be discussed. The case itself is not so troublesome (it’s likely that the present version is the only version we’ll see); what is troublesome is that it leads one to consider what “sculpture” is nowadays and how hard it is to come to terms even with conventional work. No one wants a strict definition of sculpture; an operational idea or two would suffice, and a few have come up. As it is, Ten Elements could be seen as either a “modernist” or a “post modernist” sculpture, as a more or less “pure” instance of the medium, as defined in “modernist” terms, or as a kind of negative description of another medium or term (here, architecture), like a lot of “post modernist” work.

Each element is a solid made of plywood and painted black,

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