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Investigations: The Expanded Field of Writing in the Works of Robert Morris

 | 
Katia Schneller
, 
Noura Wedell

I. Embedded Writing

Continuous Project Altered Daily (1969): The Machinery of Art

Katia Schneller

Texte intégral

  • 1 Thomas Krens, “The Triumph of Entropy,” in Robert Morris. The Mind/Body Problem, ex. cat., 1994, p (...)
  • 2 Continuous Project Altered Daily will henceforward be referred to as CPAD.
  • 3 Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris, 1993.
  • 4 CPAD is presented as an “Earthwork” in Robert Morris, ex. cat., Marcia Tucker, ed., 1970, pp. 43-4 (...)

1“Robert Morris’ entire œuvre is a single work—‘a continuous project altered daily.’”1 With this reference to Morris’ 1969 piece Continuous Project Altered Daily (Fig. 7a-7b),2 Thomas Krens summed up the complexity of the artist’s production in his preface to the catalog of the 1994 Morris retrospective held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In fact, Krens was renewing the artist’s own allusion to CPAD. Indeed, the previous year, Morris had given this title to an anthology of his writings published since the 1960s.3 In its title and its conceit, the 1969 piececompleted and shown over the course of twenty days in March in the warehouse of the Leo Castelli gallery in New York—had foregrounded the notions of perpetual motion and permanent calling-into-question that the artist and the commentator both designated as the essential ferments in Morris’ process. CPAD, considered one of his emblematic experiments of the 1960s, and categorized as process art, earth art, or anti-form,4 had acquired by the mid 1990s the additional value of being a pragmatic work, a veritable metaphor of Morris’ complexity.

7a-7b. Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily, 1969. Earth, clay, asbestos, cotton, water, grease, plastic, felt, wood, threadwaste, electric lights, photographs, and tape recorder, dimensions variable. Installation at the Leo Castelli Warehouse, New York, March 1-22, 1969. Accordion leaflet with 17 sections, sepia offset, 67.6 × 12 inches (171.8 × 30.5 cm), published for Artists & Photographs, New York: Multiple Inc., 1970.

7a-7b. Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily, 1969. Earth, clay, asbestos, cotton, water, grease, plastic, felt, wood, threadwaste, electric lights, photographs, and tape recorder, dimensions variable. Installation at the Leo Castelli Warehouse, New York, March 1-22, 1969. Accordion leaflet with 17 sections, sepia offset, 67.6 × 12 inches (171.8 × 30.5 cm), published for Artists & Photographs, New York: Multiple Inc., 1970.

Courtesy of Robert Morris and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York. © 2010 Robert Morris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Courtesy of Robert Morris and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York. © 2010 Robert Morris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

  • 5 See Robert Morris, ex. cat., Marcia Tucker, ed., 1970; Michael Compton, “Biographical Summary,” op (...)
  • 6 Kimberley Paice, “Continuous Project Altered Daily,” in Robert Morris, The Mind/Body Problem, ex. (...)
  • 7 Thomas Krens, “The Triumph of Entropy,” op. cit., p. xviii.

2In spite of this success, the work remains relatively undocumented. The information available in different critical sources5 is scarce and often marked by inexactitude and contradiction. Aside from the entry in the 1994 catalogue Robert Morris: The Mind/Body Problem6, no analysis of CPAD has really been undertaken. Why does such an analytical void surround this important work? Does the enigma come from the work itself? Might it in fact contribute to it? Such questions reinforce the hypothesis that CPAD might provide an emblematic reading of Morris’ body of work as a whole, one that “begins and ends as a text that consciously seduces, and ultimately resists, a definitive exegesis in any form.”7

3Writing plays a special role in the exegesis of CPAD. The only traces of the piece available today are photographs, published by Multiples Inc. in 1970, and a log that Morris kept during its duration. This log, as yet unpublished, is a different form of writing than the theoretical articles, works of fiction, or autobiographical writings that Morris has published throughout his career. It also deals with a different set of problematics. Examining this document against the photographs of CPAD will allow us to probe issues of intention and subjectivity, and to measure their place in Morris’ relation to materials he uses in his works.

4If we are to resolve the enigma that is CPAD, a return to the facts is necessary in order to chart the unfolding of the piece. Once its workings are shown, and we are given a glimpse behind the scenes, examining the work’s architecture will help us understand how it was conceived to resist the exegete, and how it functions as a satisfactory metaphor for Morris’ process of creation as a whole.

A Hermetic Device

  • 8 See footnote 22.
  • 9 Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily, [1969] 1970.
  • 10 Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

5CPAD resists the exegete in multiple ways. The first obstacle is the difficulty that the exegete encounters upon attempting to clearly retrace the events that comprised it. Most critical appraisals8 indeed repeat the same litany of partial information, and it seems that nobody has truly examined the facts. Indeed, there is very little information concerning the work: as it no longer exists, what available traces we have of it are summed up in the photographs in the leaflet published in 1970 by Multiples.9 Morris’ archives10 do contain a few additional documents: thirty-three black-and-white snapshots, professional photographs of CPAD, and the previously mentioned log, which constitutes an invaluable account of the piece.

  • 11 These are Saturday March 1, Friday March 7, Monday March 10, Sunday March 16, and Monday March 17, (...)

6Upon examination, these different documents reveal contradictions in what has been commonly established about the work. The first inexactitude concerns the dating of the piece: although the different catalogues provide the dates of March 1st-22nd, 1969, Morris began his journal on Sunday February 23rd, entering preliminary reflections on CPAD’s aspect and on its method of completion. Above all, he designated Friday February 28th as his first day of work. Concerning the events that make up CPAD proper, we can only retrace a lacunar path since Morris does not make regular entry logs: although the different catalogues claim that Morris kept a daily journal, he did not comment on five of the twenty-three days during which the work was on view.11 Likewise, the catalogues explain that Morris worked on CPAD every morning during the production and presentation of the piece in the warehouse of the Castelli gallery, leaving space for public viewing in the afternoon, Tuesday through Saturday. Upon reading his log, however, it is apparent that each entry did not necessarily correspond to a day of work: the artist only really manipulated his piece over twelve of the twenty-three days, probably corresponding to the twelve images that Morris published in 1970. Clearly, the artist did not take pictures of his work at the end of each day, contrary to another idea that has been erroneously circulated.

7If we combine the information offered by these twelve images and by the log, here is what we learn about the events that comprised the work:
–Friday February 28th, 1969, first day of work. Morris piled clay on the floor and mixed it with water, walked on it barefoot, and then, with the aid of a broom soaked in diluted clay, marked a square on the wall, which he continued on the ground. According to his journal, he then executed a square on the ceiling with oakum and fat—a square which lay beyond the frame of the photograph entitled “Stage 1” in the 1970 leaflet. Finally, assistants broke up cylindrical pieces of clay, some of which were mixed with water and were then dragged and broken up against the wall by Morris. The tools (a broom and a shovel), the materials (a table, barrels, and bags) and the sign indicating the title of the work, left on the scene propped up against the wall, punctuated by their presence the different stages of CPAD, as shown by the twelve images in the leaflet.
–Monday March 3rd, 1969, second day of work. The table that was set against the right-hand wall disappeared and was replaced, in the image entitled “Stage 2,” by a sheet of plastic, one edge of which was attached to the wall, while the other covered the pieces of clay and oakum lying on the ground.
–Wednesday March 5th, 1969, third day of work. The plastic was rolled into a ball in the left-hand corner of the image entitled “Stage 3.” Morris wrote that he coated a square with grease and began to build platforms out of plywood.
–Thursday March 6th, 1969, fourth day. Morris placed two platforms on top of the material left on the floor and covered them with earth and felt.
–Monday March 10th, 1969. In his notebook, Morris considered this the sixth day of work; it corresponds to the image entitled “Stage 5.” The piece of felt disappeared while four additional platforms covered with earth were added.
–Wednesday March 12th, 1969. Morris, having lost count of his days of work, hesitated between the seventh and the eighth day, added oakum to the tables in less than an hour. The corresponding image is “Stage 6.”
–Thursday March 13th, 1969. As illustrated by the image entitled “Stage 7,” Morris unfolded felt on the platforms and spread earth on it.
–Saturday March 15th, 1969. Morris spread a veil of muslin above the platforms, installed lights above this and hung the “CPAD”sign on the wall. This stage corresponds to the image entitled “Stage 8.”
–Wednesday March 19th, 1969. Morris removed the veil, as shown in the image entitled “Stage 9.”
–Thursday March 20th, 1969. Morris dismantled the platforms, piled them against the wall, as shown in the “Stage 10” image.
–Friday March 21st, 1969. As illustrated by the “Stage 11” image, Morris continued to clean and the photographer Steve Balkan lined up eight enlarged photographs of the preceding states of the work along the wall, next to the “CPAD”sign.
–Saturday March 22nd, 1969. This date corresponds to the final image of the leaflet, “Stage 12.” Morris recorded on tape the sounds produced during the cleaning process, sounds which he then made available to visitors.

8These are the main events that appear in the images and that Morris has described in his journal. Although this list shows the major stages of the work, it passes over a large number of more or less important events, a precise and daily transcription of which seems not only impossible but useless. The work preserves a certain opacity, never giving itself over to a complete reading. This is reinforced by the artist’s own attitude, for he did not lend sustained attention to the recording of events, and his practical indications were often vague, even incomplete. Writing nevertheless appears as another form of recording, different from that of the photographic process, one that can express a duration, restitute a feeling of this unfolding—thus recalling Morris’ experiments in the early 1960s at the interface of drawing and writing.

Showing the Working Process

  • 12 Robert Morris, “Anti Form,” 1968, pp. 33-35, reprinted in Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Wr (...)

9The complex device that is CPAD invites us to experience a period of time. It walks us through its twenty-three days, instead of insisting that we pause upon one particular stage. For this reason, it is often presented as a project in which Morris’ investigations around process, which he clarifies in 1968 with the notion of “anti-form,” were pushed to the extreme. Following his April 1968 article in Artforum, and after the December 1968 9 at Castelli12 exhibition—where he brought together nine artists including Serra, Nauman, Hesse, Bollinger, Saret, and Sonnier, in the Castelli gallery’s warehouse (where CPAD would be shown two months later)—Morris appeared as the leader and theoretician of a new artistic trend called “anti-form” or “process art.” After having worked with the idea of gestalt, Morris returned to his interest in the process of fabrication. He had already explored this at the beginning of the 1960s, for example, with Box with the Sound of Its Own Making. With CPAD, however, the process of realizing the work was more important than the completed object itself. Morris was no longer trying to produce precise arrangements, but, on the contrary, allowed the material to react to the force of gravity. The aesthetic of CPAD was that of a work in progress; this is what stands out in the brief enumeration of the stages of its production. It was only upon reaching “Stage 8” (fifteen days after the beginning of the piece) that the work was considered completed and its sign was affixed to the wall—the four final steps (or the eight final days) were devoted to its dismantling.

  • 13 See Richard J. Williams, After Modern Sculpture: Art in the United States and Europe 1965-1970 (Ma (...)
  • 14 See Brian O’Doherty, Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space (Los Angeles: Univer (...)
  • 15 Sunday February 23, 1969, in the log kept by Robert Morris, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

10Choosing to use the warehouse of the Leo Castelli gallery participated in this aesthetic of the working piece. Located at 103 West 108th Street, on the Upper West Side,13 it was not on the map of artistic New York city. The warehouse was located far from the museums of the Upper East Side as well as from the Castelli gallery, then located at 4 East 77th Street, near the Metropolitan Museum, in the city’s wealthy residential area. The simple fact that it bore the name of one of the most important New York galleries, however, legitimized Morris’ action and inscribed it within the art world sphere. Yet choosing this old warehouse linked artistic activity to the aesthetics of industrial space rather than to those of the White Cube, the norm in contemporary art galleries at the time.14 The proposed artistic experience was not the pure contemplation of a completed object in a gallery setting, but was instead inscribed in a work space which reproduced the New York artist’s studio of the 1960s—which a majority of artists occupied due to their cheap rents. While Morris showed Untitled (Threadwaste) and one of his felt series at the Castelli gallery between March 1st and 22nd, he made use of the warehouse as a laboratory, perfectly well-suited to the investigation of process, and created a construction site aesthetic by using earth, shovels, or platforms that looked like scaffoldings. This aesthetic played a large part in the project; Morris wrote about it on Sunday February 23rd, 1969, before beginning CPAD: “leave materials from the working day as they are in the vicinity of what has been worked (‘transformed’) purposefully by me – i.e., include the ‘stored’ on hand aspect as part of the work. Remove only the tools at end of working.”15

  • 16 Earlier works, such as Box with the Sound of Its Own Making (1961) or the performance Site (1964) (...)

11Morris thus proposesd a mise-en-scène of the artist at work by using a space similar to that of the studio and by developing a construction-site aesthetic there.16

Visual Conceptualization

  • 17 Critics were more focalized on the show that took place concurrently in the Castelli gallery space (...)
  • 18 Statement by Morris, October 1971, retranscribed in Lucy Lippard, Six Years: The Dematerialization (...)
  • 19 This process brings to mind the principle of the chronophotographs of Jules Etienne Marey or Eadwe (...)
  • 20 Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily, [1969] 1970.

12CPAD was much more of a mise-en-scène, however, than a studio open to the public. The experience the public could have remained limited: the show’s marginal geographic location and the minimal accounts in the press at the time17 did not, apparently, attract many visitors. Furthermore, the public was never present while the artist was working, since visits were only allowed in the afternoon. The desire to control the spectator’s experience was, to our understanding, central in the brochure that Morris published with Multiples in 1970. As an artist known to be extremely wary of photography, this is Morris’ only brochure which presents photographs with no accompanying text. Indeed, in an interview with Lucy Lippard, he declared that “a purposeful replacement of [the work’s] existence with a photograph has never been a working method […]. Photographs function as a peculiar kind of sign. There is a strange relation between their reality and their artificiality, the signifier-signified relation they set up is not at all clear or transparent. One of the things they do is to give too much information and not enough at the same time.”18 The brochure thus provided a mise-en-scène of the work’s evolution, and zoomed in more particularly on the movements of matter as if shooting a small film of a stage. The images, all taken by the professional photographer Steve Balkan (and not by Morris) follow each other like a kind of film breaking down movement.19 The brochure unfolds as follows: first the title “CPAD, 1969,” then the materials used in order of appearance (as if they were actors’ names listed by order of appearance in the closing credits of a film), “Earth, water, grease, plastic, felt, wood, thread, light, photographs, sound,”20 and then the twelve stages, always presented in the same way. The number corresponding to the stage in question appears on the right, and the room is presented as a panoramic view in the form of a long rectangle, with the ceiling cropped and a band of empty floor in the front to isolate the work. This framing, and the sepia-brown color of the photographs, lend uniformity to the brochure; Balkan’s photographs, conserved in Morris’ archives, are taken with a larger frame, showing the ceiling and unsorted piles of materials in the foreground, and have been intentionally cropped in order to correspond to the parameters of the brochure. The evolution of the work is thus brought out as a kind of game of seven errors.

  • 21 Robert Morris, “Notes on Sculpture, Part 4: Beyond Objects,” 1969, pp. 50-54; reprinted in Robert (...)

13This presentation effectively isolated and objectivized the work by flattening it into a bidimensional view. Paradoxically, it reproduced the aesthetic conditions of the “White Cube” in erasing the warehouse’s architectural characteristics and thus the studio metaphor. Only the four details of stages 2, 6, 8, and 11, inserted in the layout, broke with the rigidity, systematism, and seriality of the brochure. The piece effectively became encapsulated in these twelve steps, which corresponded to Morris’ twelve interventions. The temporality of the twenty-three days of work was effaced. This produced a visual conceptualization of the idea of process in accord with the theoretical distance of the texts published by the artist at the time, notably “Notes on Sculpture, Part 4: Beyond Objects”21 (Artforum, April 1969), in which he described the experience of immersed perception proposed by the works presented in the article (paradoxically only visible or transcribed by virtue of details that zoomed in on their materiality). In this way, under the guise of a false objectivity, the machinery of art was exposed rather than conveyed without question.

The Artist Takes a Step Back and Leaves Matter to Decide

  • 22 Notes by Morris on Thursday March 20, 1969 in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.
  • 23 Notes by Morris on Friday March 14, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

14The CPAD leaflet presented the materiality of the work as if it acted independently of the artist. Procedures of mise en abyme—such as including photographs of the work into the work (as of “Stage 8”) or incorporating an audio recording which Morris understood as “inserting its memory into the piece, letting it think about itself, its past its youth, middle age, its wetness and dryness.”22 Morris’ log also functioned as a mise en abyme of the work. However, his own introspection opened a breach in the mise-en-scène. On Friday the 14th of March, he wrote: “I chart the profile of the course I’m following, the feelings, the changes, the fears, the disgust, the acceptance and the dread.”23 Unlike the texts published at the time by Morris, this piece of writing gave access to his intentions, or at least to the angst-Wridden conflict implied by the anti-subjective stance in the work.

  • 24 Notes by Morris on Friday February 28, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY (...)
  • 25 Note by Morris on Monday March 3, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

15Indeed, his working method consisted in not making decisions, letting the work occur of its own accord. By limiting his interventions to a select number of fixed constraints (produce a work, in so many days, in a specific space, working every morning with certain materials), he created a work situation similar to Simone Forti’s task performances, in which dancers executed tasks provided to them in advance. On his first day of work, Friday February 28th, 1969, he wrote: “No idea what to be done with it. Began aimlessly. […] The mess had no justification.” He then balked at giving birth to new identifiable forms and felt “[s]ome deep disgust with acting on matter”24 which he qualified on several occasions as “fecal.” He added, on Monday March 3rd, 1969: “I’ve driven out, finally, artifice and intention with this work and am left almost drilled with its sense of existence which unrelieved by the structure of form that makes all art human. The most inhuman work so far. Not a distinction, a description.”25

  • 26 Notes by Morris on Sunday March 2, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.
  • 27 See footnote 4.
  • 28 Notes by Morris on Thursday March 13, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.
  • 29 Robert Morris, “Robert Morris Replies to Roger Denson (Or Is That a Mouse in My Paragone?),” 1993, (...)

16Morris abdicated his decision making power in order to question the limits of art and to undertake a critique of the notion of style by constantly challenging the idea. On Sunday March 2nd, 1969, he wrote: “I fear nothing. […] I am still willing to torture myself inside out. Furthermore, I see it as the only method for advance. This, in spite of the irony of its being only welcomed as a new note of fashionability by my public.”26 CPAD should be considered outside of all stylistic categories; to classify it under the terms process Art, anti-form, or earth art27 would reduce the complexity of Morris’ undertaking. The different vocabularies that Morris used throughout the 1960s, such as earth, felt, plywood, photography, or sound, confronted themselves for the first time as the artist’s personas. On Thursday March 13th, 1969, Morris wrote: “This work is like the layers of myself.”28 In its most developed state, CPAD was as an accumulation of layers, the photographs of the leaflet insisting on this aesthetic of the transverse cut. Its different vocabularies appeared as different facets of the artist. Morris engaged with a similar procedure in the last text of the 1993 collection Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris, “Robert Morris Replies to Roger Denson (Or Is That a Mouse in My Paragone?)”29, where he staged several personas, such as Body Bob, in reference to his performances, and Major Minimax, referring to his so-called minimalist works.

  • 30 Notes by Morris on Friday March 14, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.
  • 31 Epitaph of Robert Morris, “Cézanne’s Mountains,” Critical Inquiry, no. 24 (Spring 2000), pp. 474-4 (...)
  • 32 Notes by Morris on Sunday March 9, 1969, in his journal, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

17To create this theatre of materials, in which different vocabularies confronted one another, Morris remained withdrawn, knowingly producing a work that folded back on itself and resisted the spectator. To reveal his sentiments would have been “…as though [he’d] revealed [his] methods of masturbation.”30 He refused to seek reasons that would explain his work, which he claimed resulted only from the movements of his body, as he would later emphasize by citing Davidson: “We never do more than move our bodies: the rest is up to nature.”31 His was a conception of a decentered and fragmented self. As he specified on Sunday March 9th, 1969: “Get away from preciousness, so much come for the personal interaction, work, feeling for the thing – get in some sense ‘out’ into the cold. Don’t worry about the energy of the self center, just act.”32 Morris reaffirmed this dislocation of the Self and of the unity of the creative act in a manifesto of sorts in the introduction to the collection Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris, presenting this assertion of a fragmentary self as an anti-humanist position.

  • 33 Notes by Morris on Friday March 21, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.
  • 34 Notes by Morris on Saturday March 15, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.
  • 35 Notes by Morris on Wednesday March 5, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.
  • 36 Entropy is the second law of thermodynamics, theorized in the Nineteenth Century, which postulates (...)
  • 37 Robert Smithson, “The Monuments of Passaic,” Artforum, vol. 7, no. 4 (December 1967), pp. 48-51, r (...)
  • 38 Notes by Morris on Wednesday March 19th, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, (...)

18With CPAD, Morris confronted what he calls “unmaking”33 and produced: “The most mythical thing I’ve ever done. Cain-like of dirt, a construction that goes nowhere, a constructed ruin built over an abandoned agricultural organization.”34 He characterized CPAD on Wednesday March 5th, 1969, as “A reverse excavation, building up ruins,”35 an expression that cannot fail to recall the artist Robert Smithson and their common interest in entropy.36 Indeed, Smithson wrote, in his 1967 article “A Tour in the Monuments of Passaic,” of “ruins in reverse” described as “the opposite of the ‘romantic ruin’ because the buildings don’t fall into ruin after they are built but rather rise into ruin before they are built.”37 CPAD set forth a metaphor of the vanity of creative combat as presented by romantic heroism. Morris’ desacralization was radical not only because the destroyed work persisted only in the form of a multiple, but above all because its consequence was the production of a new form of heroism, an entropic heroism in which the work, instead of being the positive achievement of a transcendent object, became only dejection; on Wednesday March 19th, 1969, he described it as: “Viscera, muscles, slime, primal energies, afterbirth, feces.”38

  • 39 Robert Morris, “Robert Morris Replies to Roger Denson (Or Is That a Mouse in My Paragone?),” 1993, (...)

19CPAD engages with the paradox that the more one exposes what is in the wings of the production of a work, the more slippery and resistant to exegesis the work becomes. As Body Bob said in “Robert Morris Replies to Roger Denson”: “The Whole story can never tell the whole story.”39 The log occupies a special place in the functioning of the work, reflecting the position the artist sought to occupy, participating in the work without being openly inserted into it. It gives access to the artist’s real-time reflections, a spontaneity which is absent in the images of the work, and which is often suppressed in Morris’ work. Although the log is not properly part of the work, it accompanies its process of completion, describes and comments upon it, and makes it explicit like a hidden memory. It gives access to the complex machinery of CPAD and to the philosophical complexity of the fragmentation of the self that is at play within it.

Notes

1 Thomas Krens, “The Triumph of Entropy,” in Robert Morris. The Mind/Body Problem, ex. cat., 1994, p. xviii.

2 Continuous Project Altered Daily will henceforward be referred to as CPAD.

3 Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris, 1993.

4 CPAD is presented as an “Earthwork” in Robert Morris, ex. cat., Marcia Tucker, ed., 1970, pp. 43-48, and under the title “Process Pieces” in Michael Compton, “Biographical Summary,” in Robert Morris, ex. cat., 1971, pp. 115-128.

5 See Robert Morris, ex. cat., Marcia Tucker, ed., 1970; Michael Compton, “Biographical Summary,” op. cit.; Robert Morris, ex. cat., 1995, p. 234.

6 Kimberley Paice, “Continuous Project Altered Daily,” in Robert Morris, The Mind/Body Problem, ex. cat., 1994, p. 234.

7 Thomas Krens, “The Triumph of Entropy,” op. cit., p. xviii.

8 See footnote 22.

9 Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily, [1969] 1970.

10 Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

11 These are Saturday March 1, Friday March 7, Monday March 10, Sunday March 16, and Monday March 17, 1969.

12 Robert Morris, “Anti Form,” 1968, pp. 33-35, reprinted in Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris, 1993, pp. 41-50. 9 at Castelli, New York: Castelli Warehouse, December 4-28, 1968. Very little information remains about the 9 at Castelli exhibition, the file on the show having disappeared from the Robert Morris Archives.

13 See Richard J. Williams, After Modern Sculpture: Art in the United States and Europe 1965-1970 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), pp. 103-105.

14 See Brian O’Doherty, Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1999).

15 Sunday February 23, 1969, in the log kept by Robert Morris, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

16 Earlier works, such as Box with the Sound of Its Own Making (1961) or the performance Site (1964) already exhibited this construction-site aesthetic. This process was fully inscribed into the questioning of the artistic process that artists were then addressing, particularly the notion of the studio. One could cite several experiments that responded to performance, such as Bruce Nauman’s videos made in his studio, in which he executed simple and repetitive gestures. But this work by Morris had a more direct impact in the New York scene through the piece also entitled CPAD conceived by the dancer Yvonne Rainer—who visited the Castelli warehouse during the elaboration of CPAD.

17 Critics were more focalized on the show that took place concurrently in the Castelli gallery space. See John Gruen, “Art in New York: What a Dump,” New York, vol. 2, no. 12 (March 24, 1969), p. 63.

18 Statement by Morris, October 1971, retranscribed in Lucy Lippard, Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972 (New York: New York University Press, 1973, reprinted by Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1997), pp. 257-258.

19 This process brings to mind the principle of the chronophotographs of Jules Etienne Marey or Eadweard Muybridge, in vogue at the time among artists on the New York scene; Sol LeWitt, for example, produced Muybridge I in 1964.

20 Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily, [1969] 1970.

21 Robert Morris, “Notes on Sculpture, Part 4: Beyond Objects,” 1969, pp. 50-54; reprinted in Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris, 1993, pp. 51-70.

22 Notes by Morris on Thursday March 20, 1969 in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

23 Notes by Morris on Friday March 14, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

24 Notes by Morris on Friday February 28, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY. Morris even speaks of his distaste of giving birth to forms, Tuesday March 11th, 1969.

25 Note by Morris on Monday March 3, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

26 Notes by Morris on Sunday March 2, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

27 See footnote 4.

28 Notes by Morris on Thursday March 13, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

29 Robert Morris, “Robert Morris Replies to Roger Denson (Or Is That a Mouse in My Paragone?),” 1993, pp. 287-315.

30 Notes by Morris on Friday March 14, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

31 Epitaph of Robert Morris, “Cézanne’s Mountains,” Critical Inquiry, no. 24 (Spring 2000), pp. 474-487, and of “Robert Morris replies to Roger Denson (Or Is That a Mouse in My Paragone?),” 1993, pp. 287-315. In 1991, Morris completed the series Blind Time IV: Drawing with Davidson, which addressed these issues of intentionality. Concerning the explanation of the reasons for creation, see also Robert Morris’ text “Professional Rules,” in Have I Reasons: Work and Writings, 1993-2007, 2008, pp. 63-100.

32 Notes by Morris on Sunday March 9, 1969, in his journal, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

33 Notes by Morris on Friday March 21, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

34 Notes by Morris on Saturday March 15, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

35 Notes by Morris on Wednesday March 5, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

36 Entropy is the second law of thermodynamics, theorized in the Nineteenth Century, which postulates the irreversibility of transformations and corresponds to the measure of the degree of disorder within a system: the higher the elevation of entropy of a system, the less its elements can be ordered, and this, irreversibly.

37 Robert Smithson, “The Monuments of Passaic,” Artforum, vol. 7, no. 4 (December 1967), pp. 48-51, reprinted in Jack Flam, ed., Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings (Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 1996), p. 72. See also Katia Schneller, “Sous l’emprise de l’Instamatic. Photographie et contre-modernisme dans la pratique artistique de Robert Smithson,” Études photographiques, no. 19 (January 2007), pp. 68-95.

38 Notes by Morris on Wednesday March 19th, 1969, in his notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY.

39 Robert Morris, “Robert Morris Replies to Roger Denson (Or Is That a Mouse in My Paragone?),” 1993, pp. 287-315.

Table des illustrations

Titre 7a-7b. Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily, 1969. Earth, clay, asbestos, cotton, water, grease, plastic, felt, wood, threadwaste, electric lights, photographs, and tape recorder, dimensions variable. Installation at the Leo Castelli Warehouse, New York, March 1-22, 1969. Accordion leaflet with 17 sections, sepia offset, 67.6 × 12 inches (171.8 × 30.5 cm), published for Artists & Photographs, New York: Multiple Inc., 1970.
Légende Courtesy of Robert Morris and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York. © 2010 Robert Morris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
URL http://books.openedition.org/enseditions/docannexe/image/3809/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 104k
Légende Courtesy of Robert Morris and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York. © 2010 Robert Morris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
URL http://books.openedition.org/enseditions/docannexe/image/3809/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 392k

Auteur

Associate professor in art history, École supérieure d’art et design, Grenoble-Valence.

© ENS Éditions, 2015

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540