INTRODUCTION
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NENA TSOUTI-SCHILLINGER
One of the most influential artists of our time, Robert Morris is also a thought-
provoking writer. In the minds of many readers Morris is known for his contri-
butions to virtually every postwar art movement since abstract expressionism:
as a pioneer of minimalist sculpture, a leader of antiform art, and an iconoclast
breaking down traditional draftsmanship by making drawings with his eyes
shut and no visual reference whatsoever (the Blind Time drawings). Others
know him for a number of widely influential texts and notes on art written
between 1966 and 1989 (many of them published in 1993 in Continuous Project
Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris). Still others consider him the
most prolific writer of any artist of his generation, exceeding all expectations
of what an artist might accomplish with words. He has captured audiences not
only with his elusive flux of transformation, as an enduring practicing artist,
but also under the persona of the intellectual theorist. That is to say, he is truly
the embodiment of the artist/philosopher by definition. Morris has proved
quite articulate concerning the nature and development of art as he relentlessly
challenges prevailing ideas about art and culture.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, on February 9, 1931, Robert Morris displayed
an interest in art from his earliest years, having already been exposed by the
age of seven to Egyptian art, Goya, and Cézanne during visits to the Nelson
Gallery. He attended the Kansas City Art Institute and the California School of
Fine Arts in San Francisco, later pursuing philosophy and psychology studies
at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Like many artists of the fifties, he began
his career initially as a painter working in the abstract expressionist style, which
was dominant then. During this period he also organized a theater workshop
with his wife at that time, the dancer and choreographer Simone Forti, to ex-
plore movement, sound, light, and language. However, in 1960 he abandoned
painting because he had come to find the medium inadequate for what he
wished to express.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Morris played a central role in defining the
movements of the period: minimalist sculpture, process art, and earthworks. In
fact, it was the gray geometric plywood pieces he showed at Richard’s Bellamy’s
Green Gallery in 1963 and 1964 that placed Morris in the front ranks of the
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