new-york

Richard Tuttle

Sperone Westwater

Richard Tuttle has cornered the market in Tuttles. Nobody else can make them because nobody knows what they are. Artists influenced by Tuttle tend to make the kind of work people refer to as “quirky,” but Tuttle is quirky only in his weaker moments, when he is charmingly arbitrary or harmlessly hermetic. More often, his work is recalcitrantly ordinary, and that’s where its enigma resides. A Tuttle is not really a particular kind of object; it’s the concretized aura of an attitude—an autistic, almost infuriating indifference to many of the things other artists (and critics, and viewers) care passionately about, like the dramas of originality versus historicism, or the intersecting definitions of painting and sculpture.

Not that Tuttle’s work is historically anomalous, of course. Along with its humble roots in quotidian handicrafts and tinkering, it has grander ones in Dada (especially

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