DMA Presents The Art of Richard Tuttle

Dallas, TX, June 20, 2006The Dallas Museum of Art will present The Art of Richard Tuttle, the largest retrospective ever organized of this influential American artist’s groundbreaking career. Bringing together more than 300 significant works from collections worldwide the exhibition unifies Tuttle’s four-decade career in a provocative and imaginative installation designed by the artist, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art curator Madeleine Grynsztejn, who organized the exhibition, and Charles Wylie, The Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art of the Dallas Museum of Art.

The exhibition will be on view from July 15 through October 8, 2006 in the Museum’s architecturally distinguished Barrel Vault and marks the artist’s return to Dallas after his 1971 Dallas Museum of Fine Art’s presentation which was his first major museum exhibition.

Richard Tuttle’s richly complex and highly inventive output from the mid-1960s to the present includes sculptures, paintings, assemblages, works on paper, and artist books. The artist’s distinctive style and its relation to American art since 1965 will be emphasized, summarizing the trajectory of his work and celebrating his singular achievements in imbuing basic abstract forms with emotion, mood and (often) narrative elements. Tuttle’s art purposefully blurs the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and drawing, and between the artwork and its surrounding space; his use of diverse and unorthodox materials challenges formal restrictions and represents one of the most radical yet approachable bodies of abstract art of our time.

Works in the exhibition are drawn from renowned private collections and museums including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; Whitney Museum of American Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A special feature of the DMA’s installation will be works drawn from Dallas area private collections that represent the depth of Tuttle’s art in Dallas in both public and private hands.

An Exhibition of Unequaled Scope

The presentation in The Art of Richard Tuttle will be essentially chronological, alternating concentrations of works from a single series with displays combining two of three related bodies of work. The design of the exhibition will allow viewers to understand Tuttle’s methodology, as each gallery builds on the one preceding to emphasize the unifying principles in Tuttle’s work: his distinct use of line, his explorations of scale, the pendulum swing between structural complexity and simplicity, and the artist’s precise attention to the work’s relationship to the wall.  The Art of Richard Tuttle will be the first to convey these unifying threads, as previous exhibitions have focused on discrete bodies of work and have not cited correspondences with Tuttle’s overall production.

Beginning with Tuttle’s eccentrically shaped painted-wood reliefs of the mid-1960s, the exhibition will move through his un-stretched, shaped-and-dyed canvases to his glyph-like tin constructions. It continues with a selection of his wire pieces (nearly invisible wires installed in lyrical loops on a wall marked with pencil lines and cast shadows), multimedia assemblages made in the 1980s (Monkey’s Recovery), and the series of free-standing sculptures called Floor Drawings. The exhibition next explores Tuttle’s return to intimate-sized work (Line Pieces) and wall-sized installations (Inside the Still Pure Form) from the early 1990s, followed by his low-relief wall-bound pieces (New Mexico/New York, Whiteness, Two with Any To, Waferboard) and the recent Twenty Pearls series. A large selection of Tuttle’s drawings and artists book will be included in the exhibition. His work design will be alluded to with the inclusion of artist-designed-exhibition furniture.

The accompany exhibition catalogue The Art of Richard Tuttle was published by SFMOMA, in association with Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. The 388- page, fully illustrated catalogue offers new scholarly findings and promises to be the definitive publication on the artist and a lasting contribution to the art-historical field.

A Maverick from the Start
Born in Rahway, New Jersey, in 1941, Richard Tuttle now makes his home in both New York City and Abiquiu, New Mexico. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Tuttle’s work formed an essential part of the groundbreaking developments that reconceived Minimalism by adopting a direct and improvisational process of making art using nontraditional materials. Tuttle is among the most influential of the first-generation Post-Minimalists, a group that includes Eva Hesse, Bruce Nauman, and Richard Serra. A concept of independence and sense of joy lie at the heart of each of Tuttle’s works. Taking an unprecedented approach to interpreting his oeuvre, this exhibition reveals the fundamentally democratic attitude informing his art; the openness of his compositions is a tribute to individual curiosity, experimentation, and freedom that has greatly influenced later generations of artists.

Tuttle had his first solo exhibition at Betty Parsons Gallery in New York in 1965, and his first major museum presentation at the Dallas Museum of Art in 1971. His work was also featured in a 1975 exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Thirty five years have elapsed since the Dallas presentation, and his evolving artistic contributions demand a rigorous reinvestigation. His art continues to question concepts of composition and frame, toy with the balance between line and volume, and merge the mystical with the material. While Tuttle’s work has stirred controversy over the years, recently he has won the admiration of a younger generation of artists who have found inspiration in his formal audacity and uncompromising integrity of vision.

Exhibition Organizer and Sponsors
The Art of Richard Tuttle is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, Mimi and Peter Haas, the Edward E. Hills Fund, Helen and Charles Schwab, and Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro. Additional national support has been provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Shirley Ross Sullivan and Charles Sullivan, the Irving Stenn Family, the Kadima Foundation, the Frances R. Dittmer Family Foundation, Jeanne and Michael Klein, Tim Nye and the MAT Charitable Foundation, Craig Robins, Louisa Stude Sarofim, Sperone Westwater, Joseph Holtzman, and Emily Rauh Pulitzer

Exhibition support in Dallas is provided by One Arts Plaza by Billingsley Company, the Exhibitionists Endowment Fund, the Donor Circle Membership Program through leadership gifts by Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Faulconer, Mary Noel and Bill Lamont, and Kelli and Allen Questrom, and the Contemporary Art Fund through the gifts of an anonymous donor, Arlene and John Dayton, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Faulconer, Nancy and Tim Hanley, The Hoffman Family Foundation, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Evelyn P. and Edward W. Rose, and Gayle and Paul Stoffel.

Cost of the exhibition is covered in general admission: $10 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and $5 for students with current school identification. Museum members and children under 12 are free. Admission is free to all on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and the first Tuesday of the month.

About the Dallas Museum of Art
The 23,000 works of art in the Museum’s encyclopedic collections span 5,000 years of history and represent all media with renowned strengths in the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia and South Asia; European and American painting, sculpture and decorative arts; and American and international contemporary art.

The Dallas Museum of Art is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and serves as the cultural magnet for the city with diverse programming ranging from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, dramatic and dance presentations, and a full spectrum of programs designed to engage people of all ages with the power and excitement of art.

The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.