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Constructing Space

Explore how Minimalist artists engaged with their physical surroundings.


Robert Morris
(American, born 1931)

1969. Felt, 15' 3/4" x 6' 1/2" x 1" (459.2 x 184.1 x 2.5 cm)

Robert Morris was an innovator in tempering the hard-edged geometry of Minimalism with a literal softness. In works like this one, he used sheets of thick industrial felt and basic formal procedures (like a series of parallel cuts), followed by hanging, and then accepted whatever shape they took. In this way he left the overall configuration of the work to the medium itself, relinquishing his artistic control to gravity and inviting chance to play a role in creating a work of art.

The order and symmetry of the cut cloth is contradicted by the graceful sag at the top, which gives it some human qualities. “Felt has anatomical associations,” Morris has said, “it relates to the body—it’s skinlike.”

The form or condition in which an object exists or appears.

A primarily American artistic movement of the 1960s, characterized by simple geometric forms devoid of representational content. Relying on industrial technologies and rational processes, Minimalist artists challenged traditional notions of craftsmanship, using commercial materials such as fiberglass and aluminum, and often employing mathematical systems to determine the composition of their works.

The materials used to create a work of art, and the categorization of art based on the materials used (for example, painting [or more specifically, watercolor], drawing, sculpture).

Relating to the shape or structure of an object.