“Marisa Merz has always been careful to do very little,” writes Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev in the catalogue to the artist’s first American retrospective, curated by Connie Butler, chief curator of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (where the show travels, June 4–August 20), and Ian Alteveer, associate curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. But the show, titled “The Sky Is a Great Space,” proves that doing very little for a long time is a good way to accomplish a great deal.
After seeing this retrospective, one will find Merz’s accomplishment as hard to define as it ever was, and that might be its curators’ signal accomplishment: They have avoided imposing an interpretive grid. The artist is unwilling to submit her works to thematic, narrative, or developmental construal, as is reflected in the fact that most of her works are untitled, and many of them undated. The origins
Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.
Not registered for artforum.com?
SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*
* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.