Only Richard Tuttle could pull off using an unlikely trope to unify a survey spanning fifty years of work. Tuttle selected twenty-six pieces, one from each of his twenty-six solo gallery exhibitions in New York since the mid-1960s, each with a label noting the name of the gallery and the dates of the exhibition. It’s a stroll through the history of the New York art market, from Betty Parsons to Blum Helman to Mary Boone to Sperone Westwater and finally to Pace. The works, which include Tuttle’s masterful wall assemblages, paintings, textiles, and drawings made from the provisional of materials, are each paired with a long black triangular tube hung on the wall with a small flap and tiny light bulb. It’s a FedEx box; painted black, it becomes a mysterious, Minimalist object. The cryptic presentation evokes the passage of time and memory.
“An exhibition history, a selection of objects, a list” is among the ways Tuttle himself describes the works in an exhibition statement. He also offers this: “A visual vocabulary, the spine of a body of work.” There is a numerical key accompanying each work and Tuttle provides a brief description of each piece, some reading like koans. Number 15 is “Invented, uneven form. It is only itself.” Recent works by Tuttle, including six new fabric pieces, are also on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through June 26. —Lindsay Pollock
Pictured: View of Richard Tuttle’s exhibition “26,” 2016; at Pace, New York. Photo Kerry Ryan McFate.