Untitled, 1968–69
aluminum I-beams
24 x 288 x 288 inches
Laumeier Sculpture Park Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald K. Greenberg

Robert Morris' Untitled,1968–69, makes reference to society’s technological advances using a series of ten hefty aluminum I-beams. The piece employs the simple, primitive construction process of stacking, arranged in two layers of five evenly spaced beams placed at right angles to create a grid pattern. Its positive and negative shapes are uniformly constructed, expressing a unitary form. The pattern is rigid and static, with a sense of precision and control, exemplifying the basic and unadorned forms characteristic of the Minimalist principles. Morris believes that the single most important sculptural element is shape and feels that his artwork is referential to (rather than imitative of) manufactured objects. The mystery of method has been eliminated; its construction is blatant as its bold, architectural scale emphasizes a paradox of elements.

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Robert Morris was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1931. He studied at the University of Kansas City from 1948 to 1950 and at the Kansas City Art Institute. He has had solo exhibitions at places including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York organized a retrospective of Morris’ work in 1994 that traveled to the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg and the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris.