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Jesús Rafael Soto, Sin título (El gran clavo) (Untitled [The Big Nail]), ca. 1959–60, mixed media, 10 3/8 x 5 1/4 x 9 3/8".

Jesús Rafael Soto

Grey Art Gallery

Jesús Rafael Soto, Sin título (El gran clavo) (Untitled [The Big Nail]), ca. 1959–60, mixed media, 10 3/8 x 5 1/4 x 9 3/8".

Vibration noire (Black Vibration), 1960, exemplifies the confusion of optic and haptic registers that defined Jesús Rafael Soto’s work between 1957 and the late 1960s. Fragile sculptural elements—twisted red, blue, and black metal wires—are affixed to a black cloth marked with dozens of ultrathin white vertical lines. With the slightest change in the viewer’s position before the work, the alignment of the physical and pictorial elements shifts, resulting in “vibration”—a disorienting shimmer that adds to a sense of movement to this otherwise static object. Yet in the area around the vertical lines, Soto has left the cloth’s materiality visible, thereby preventing the wires’ dematerialization into pure image. With this work and others, “Soto: Paris and Beyond, 1950–1970,” curated by Estrellita B. Brodsky, successfully complicated the Venezuelan artist’s strict

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