new-york

Robert Morris

Sonnabend Gallery

The poster for Robert MorrisLabyrinths—Voice—Blind Time in 1974 showed the artist stripped to the waist, in helmet and dark glasses, shackled at wrists and neck. Pushed to the breaking point, machismo, individualism in excelsis, seemed compromised by the forces it encapsulated, sadism defined by an equal and opposite masochism, with the result that the artist and his artwork, equated temporarily, were oiled and masked (recurrent Morris motifs) and sealed off absolutely as sheer narcissism demanded a willing loss of identity. He seemed to be saying that/these days, when Prometheus buys his own chains from a friendly neighborhood leather store, the ease of manipulation of sign-systems has distanced reality. While the ideal of the suffering artist is the more poignant, the more unattainable it becomes, the reality itself is a closed circuit, a lowest common denominator, a white slab with

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