Richard Tuttle

Mary Boone Gallery | Chelsea

The Whitney Museum’s 1975 Richard Tuttle exhibition cost Marcia Tucker, its curator, her job. Asked to leave in the wake of the controversy that ensued, Tucker survived the debacle and went on to found the New Museum. The show was decisive for me as well: I’ve always remembered it as an almost euphoric moment. I was in college, and had few preconceptions about contemporary art—Pop was part of the landscape of my childhood in New York, so it didn’t yet demand any thinking. This, however, did. And that, more or less, is how I turned into a critic—though it took a few years more to turn any woolly gray-stuff into printable matter. The Tuttle controversy was of the Emperor’s clothes variety: there was so little, physically, to his work. Spindly, sparsely installed, rudimentary wire-constructions like the doodles of a cockeyed spider sprang off walls creating linear shadows that were not only

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