Castelli Gallery is pleased to present Side by Side, an exhibition of four sculptures by Dan Flavin, Rita McBride, Robert Morris, and Robert Therrien. Borrowed from Rita McBride’s 2004 work, the exhibition title refers to Minimalism’s modular and repeated forms, as well as to the exhibition’s pairing of iconic sculptures from Minimalism’s inception in the 1960s with works from the 1990s and early 2000s that reflect its legacy.
Pioneering Minimalist art in the 1960s, Dan Flavin and Robert Morris created works that eschewed figurative and expressive content in favor of sculptural elements reduced to their most essential qualities. Dan Flavin’s seminal “monument” for V. Tatlin #65, 1970, comprises ready-made florescent tubes in an elegant sculptural homage to the Russian constructivist sculptor, Vladimir Tatlin. Robert Morris’ similarly restrained Untitled, 1966, employs four geometric modules that while constructed identically, may be installed in a variety of ways, allowing basic cubic units to take many permutations. Representing a pivotal shift in twentieth century art, the Minimalist works of Flavin and Morris activate the space and environment around them through an innovative use of light, scale, and arrangement.
These reductivist gestures proved fertile territory for later generations of artists. Nearly 40 years after its emergence, Rita McBride and Robert Therrien explore Minimalism’s influence within contemporary art and architecture. Depicting a miniaturized, modern day parking lot, McBride’s Side by Side, 2004, highlights the sculptural qualities of utilitarian architecture, complete with minimalist gridding and geometric planes. Similarly addressing the subject of architecture through sculpture, Robert Therrien’s No Title, 1992, simplifies the profile of a chapel into a single, iconic form. Minimalism’s grasp, these works seem to suggest, pervades not only in art, but in architecture and the everyday.