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Controversial exhibition poster

Robert Morris

Castelli-Sonnabend, New York

Date: 6.4 - 27.4 1974

Dimensions: 935 x 605 mm

Medium: offset lithograph in black and silver on wove paper

Edition Size: about 250 unnumbered and unsigned

Condition: Very good (AAA), foldlines for distribution, some age wear


This poster launched a thousand commentaries, showing a shirtless Morris holding thick chains, flexing his biceps with metal power bands on his wrists and a spiked collar around his neck, wearing aviator sunglasses and a German army helmet. This was Morris’s answer to the artist Lynda Benglis’s notorious ad in Artforum, featuring herself nude holding a giant dildo between her legs. Morris’s piece is the fruit of an epic and sustained post-Minimal interrogation of the limits of decency and social constraints.

Source: Venet Foundation

Robert Morris - The labyrinths - Voice - Blind Time 1974

SKU: 2022_RM-EP
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  • Morris was one of the most important artists of the post-war period, particularly because of his ability to challenge prevailing principles and conventions in art. He was well-known for the performances he began to undertake in the early 1960s (often staging his own body), his work heralding Conceptual art, his early Minimal sculptures and his felt reliefs that he described as an “antiform.” His theoretical texts had a strong impact on effervescent New York art scene during that decade.

    Source: Venet Foundation

    In 1974, he presented, simultaneously, at the Leo Castelli and Ileana Sonnabend galleries, a piece called Labyrinths – Voice – Blind Time, meant to put to rest, once and for all, the conception of artworks as necessarily visual through Foucauld-like labyrinths underscoring the carceral character of society. As an example, the Sculpture Park in Le Muy presents a prison-like structure (Labyrinth, 2012), as well as drawings Morris made with his eyes closed for his “blind time” series.

  • Leo Castelli operated a gallery in Paris before immigrating to America in 1941. He took up residence in New York, where dealt privately for many years. In 1957, he opened Leo Castelli Gallery, which focuses on contemporary paintings, drawings and sculpture. The Archives of American Art houses records dating from 1957-1968, including clippings, articles and photographs, as well as several interviews with Leo Castelli. An oral history and papers are also housed, respectively, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Zentralarchiv des Internationalen Kunsthandels, Bonn. The gallery maintains all post-1968 records.

    Sonnabend Gallery opened in Paris in 1962 and was instrumental in making American art of the 1960s known in Europe, with an emphasis on American Pop Art. In 1970, Sonnabend Gallery opened in New York on Madison Avenue and in 1971 relocated to 420 West Broadway in SoHo where it was one of the major protagonists that made SoHo the international art center it remained until the early 1990s. The gallery was instrumental in making European art of the 1970s known in America, with an emphasis on European conceptual art and Arte Povera. It also presented American conceptual and minimal art of the 1970s. In 1986, the so-called “Neo-Geo” show introduced, among others, the artist Jeff Koons.

    The gallery goes on showing the work of artists who rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s like Robert Morris, Bernd and Hilla Becher and Gilbert & George as well as more recent artists like Jeff Koons, Rona Pondick, Candida Höfer, Elger Esser and Clifford Ross among others.

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