Richard Tuttle, Thursday, 2019, fir plywood, pine lattice stripping, wood glue, nails, spray paints, oil marker, 28" × 28" × 2-1/4" (71.1 cm × 71.1 cm × 5.7 cm) © Richard Tuttle

Excerpt from "Richard Tuttle: A Fair Sampling"

To be published by Buchhandlung Walther König on January 30, 2020

On the occasion of Richard Tuttle's two concurrent shows at Pace Gallery in New York — Richard Tuttle: basis, 70s Drawings and Richard Tuttle: Days, Muses and Stars — Dieter Schwarz, Editor of Richard Tuttle: A Fair Sampling: Collected Writings 1966–2019, has reproduced an excerpt from the book's Introduction below.

Dieter Schwarz

The union of artist and poet in a single individual does not mean that words and works illustrate and elucidate one another; rather, the individual's artistic side paints and draws while the poetic side writes, with each form of expression functioning independently, at once self-contained and mutually complementary, forming an entity of two separate and irreducible halves...

Moving from the spoken to the written word requires an occasion: for Tuttle, these have been exhibitions of his and his friends' work, as well as of genres close to his heart, chiefly drawings and prints. Almost all of the texts collected here were written in response to specific requests.

Tuttle began his work without formal training as an artist, and the fact that he drew not on a learned body of skills and artistic techniques but on his experiences of artworks encountered since his youth is characteristic of his artistic practice. Thus, Tuttle views making art as a constant and fundamental querying of art's status. Art that exists solely in the act of being viewed rather than within a fixed frame is necessarily fragile and resists objective study, emerging anew as it does in every moment. All of Tuttle's works are effectively answers to the open questions arising out of the very existence of art, even as they reinforce the idealistic belief in the reality of this existence to which he is subject, as are all other viewers.

Tuttle views making art as a constant and fundamental querying of art's status. Art that exists solely in the act of being viewed rather than within a fixed frame is necessarily fragile and resists objective study, emerging anew as it does in every moment.

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Richard Tuttle: A Fair Sampling. Collected Writings, 1965-2019 © Richard Tuttle

Tuttle's relationship to writing is similarly autodidactic in nature and shot through with a sense of intimate urgency. He has a college degree and is well-read, but he found no discursive, reasoned way of stating his larger individual position with regard to his own works or broader artistic questions. Rather, he felt compelled to discover an appropriate form of expression in writing. How was he to formulate the ineffable, that which could only be apprehended visually? One has the sense of watching Tuttle navigate the process of writing when reading his early texts. In them he ruminates on his own practice, describing and reflecting on it. In words, he gropes from one term to the next, repudiating conventions, breaking apart fixed meanings, and working doggedly to capture new, thitherto unexpressed ideas sentence by sentence. His use of quotation marks and italics makes evident his struggle with words and their meanings. Each sentence begins with a statement that Tuttle subsequently subjects to questions and objections as he continues to write. What results is a sinuous line rather than an argument in words, an arabesque of a kind we recognize from Tuttle's own drawings.

Essays — An Excerpt from "Richard Tuttle: A Fair Sampling", Nov 19, 2019