Rafael Ferrer

THE HAPPY FEW WHO SAW the Rafael Ferrer installations in “Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials” at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 1969 or at the museum’s Sculpture Annual the following year are unlikely to forget the artist’s attraction to unconventional substances—crank grease, mounds of hay, blocks of ice, piles of leaves. These materials were gathered into “enclosures” (in Ferrer’s apt denomination) that were sundered by puzzled visitors, who memorably tracked wet foliage across the black stone floors of Marcel Breuer’s still-new museum. Ferrer’s contributions marked the artist’s noteworthy place in the day’s radical collisions of painting and sculpture—then called post-Minimalist or process art—a primacy underscored by his inclusion in such taste-transforming international events as Harald Szeemann’s “Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form” at the Kunsthalle

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