new-york

Ronald Jones

Metro Pictures

The fundamentally literary structure of Ronald Jones’ sculpture has been one of its most fascinating but also most problematic aspects. His work of the late ’80s was often challenged for its dependence on texts by the artist (available at the gallery, but not on display) for allusive resonance. Who but an architectural historian, after all, would have recognized a shape incorporated into one body of work as the footprint of Erich Mendelsohn’s 1933 Columbushaus, a Modernist masterpiece taken over as a Nazi torture center? And yet having the artist decode the reference in the accompanying text seemed to preempt the viewer’s interpretive rights, as though Jones, a formidable critic, were intent on becoming a closed circuit: artist, critic, and audience all at once. Jones’ later solution to this dilemma was to make his texts into freestanding plaques that were distinct elements within the

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