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Jiro Takamatsu, Oneness of Brick, 1971, paint on brick, 2 3/8 x 8 1/2 x 4". © The Estate of Jiro Takamatsu.

Jiro Takamatsu

Henry Moore Institute

Jiro Takamatsu, Oneness of Brick, 1971, paint on brick, 2 3/8 x 8 1/2 x 4". © The Estate of Jiro Takamatsu.

“The Temperature of Sculpture” was an ambitious first survey of Jiro Takamatsu (1936–1998) outside his home country of Japan, significant not only because Takamatsu is a seminal postwar avant-gardist, but because the show was designed around key moments from his exhibition history. The seventy-two items on display included objects, photographic documents of actions and installations, sketches, and diagrams. Focusing on the period between 1961, when Takamatsu turned from painting to sculpture, and 1977, the year of his inclusion in Documenta 6, the show was divided into sections based on key ideas such as “string,” “point,” “slack,” and “perspective.”

Though loosely categorized as sculpture, some of these works were not so much art objects as intellectual propositions to see and know. For instance, “string,” according to Takamatsu, “is an immaterial, abstract, and conceptual object

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