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RICHARD TUTTLE In Praise of Economic Determinism

On View
Bowdoin College Museum Of Art
A Print Retrospective
June 28 – October 19, 2014

From the abstract to the concrete
It’s more delphically precise than anticipated.
Arms extending halfway down
Embrace head spinning gently on the wall.
Three diagonals cross-hatch three modest rectangles,
While the other two dance in the L-shaped room.
All were welcomed gestures to autumn’s leave
That refuses to touch the ground eternally.

Censorship they claim heightens the nation’s security
For the safety of the letters that do not spell out Kronos’s full name.
Suspended in air to invoke equilibrium of solid matter
In accord with imperceptible stain on the water surface.
That gives light to the sky. CONFITEBOR TIBI IN SAECULUM!

Who would now dare to challenge him on the edge of the square!
Like burning ghost money for the dead
It was an easy affair to remember indeed.
Gold leaf square and rectangular get caught in transit,
Far away from Walt Whitman’s chanting square deific.

It’s the perfect time to ask Kandinsky and Klee
To dance without the music.
Embossed silence is all that’s needed to intensify thick
Versus thin lines that were the thought of the day.
Certainly after Madame Blavatsky!

I, too, would take up the dance in the reverse.
Peripherally, in dream, each line can change
From light to dark while being instructed to maintain
Its natural purity like how to pronounce
Ingres as “ANGRY” without the Y.
Especially when Pressure Exceeds Weight.
No one was there to witness it except for the “HOUSE OF CARDS.”
Extending “NO MORE.”

We all need to rest on either side of the main portal.
It’s the season of rotation. Pants, shirts to be worn by
Good friends who both agree “the job of the artist is to speculate.
Speculation is half a question and half a declaration.”
Like in the struggle for synthesis of order and freedom.
Who was the author of the ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY?

Do you remember?
Philosophaster is all I can recall at the moment.
Surely we can decipher
Psychoanalysis and the exploration of the depths
As merely invitations to the dialogue with the visible?
Well, only if “the printer, publisher, and the artist
Are the equal collaborators, they can perform
A quiet revolution [where] blood isn’t running on the street.”

In Praise of Historical Determinism I, II, III,
Perceived Obstacles, TransAsian, Edge to The Edge,
Edges where a square within a lesser square gently argue
For an extended family of geometric forms that investigates
Its blind impressions of the dance inside or outside
The unfamiliar space, where any Any 2 Point can lead to the
Strength of the eponymous crisp lines that are ready to
Dance with its brilliant company.

Step by step, with Fluidity of Projection and Metal Shoes
In that estimation he can argue both the classic, which
Fulfills the traditional requirements, and the eccentric that
Cries out for new paths, can coexist without censorship.
Cosmic symphony, cut ovals, notations in the air,
Collisions of unnamable forms with occasional rubbings.
This is how he directs his art.


Richard Tuttle, “Cloth,” 2002-2005. Etchings on paper. Courtesy the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, New York.


Phong Bui


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2014

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