Robert Morris (1931-)
Untitled (3 Ls)
1965 refabricated 1970
Edition of 3
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of Howard and Jean Lipman
Rights and Reproductions Information
© artist or artist’s estate
Robert Morris’s deceptively simple sculpture Untitled (L-Beams) presents us with a subtle perceptual puzzle. Although its three elements are identical in shape, they appear different from one another based on their varying orientations. This allows us to view the same form simultaneously from multiple perspectives, so that the act of seeing becomes an implicit subject of Morris’s work. This effect is heightened as we move around the sculpture, becoming aware of how our response to it is affected by our bodily position. Morris was one of the founding figures of Minimalism in the 1960s, a movement that became known for its stark forms and industrial materials, as well as its rejection of traditional artistic techniques such as modeling and casting. The repeated elements of Morris’s sculpture invoke the processes of commercial manufacture, like so many products from an assembly line. Yet the artist has indicated that the three units may be configured differently for each space in which they are presented, thereby introducing an element of play that counteracts the work’s otherwise inert and imposing forms.