Robert Morris

Tate Modern

In 1971, when Robert Morris was at the top of his game, he constructed a site-specific installation composed of plywood ramps, beams, balancing platforms, ledges, and a massive sphere for Duveen Hall, the stately entrance to the former Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain). Then forty years old, the erstwhile Minimalist envisioned something more complicated than a mere grouping of geometric forms and shapes. As David Sylvester and David Compton wrote in the exhibition catalogue, the artworks were “a sequence of structures which, although they resemble in their uncompromised simplicity Morris’ earlier sculptures, invite the physical participation of the public.” That turned out to be an understatement. So many people were injured as they energetically climbed, mounted, slid, and rolled among the over- size elements that the show was halted four days after it opened.

Morris’s wood units were

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the November 2009 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.