Richard Tuttle: Art & Life



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Art21 first featured artist Richard Tuttle in 2005
Watch the original & uncut 13 minute film online! (via Hulu)

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Own Season 3 Today: DVD or iTunes
Richard Tuttle is featured in the Art21 episode "Structures" along with fellow artists Roni Horn, Matthew Ritchie, and Fred Wilson. The Season 3 DVD features 4 episodes, 18 artists, and is available from PBS and Amazon.

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Plato's "True Philosopher"
Often thought of as the father of classical philosophy, Plato (429-347 B.C.E.) assessed that true philosophers are:

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Robert Rauschenberg & the "Gap Between Art & Life"
Artist Robert Rauschenberg was once quoted as saying "Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made. (I try to act in that gap between the two.)"

Rauschenberg and fellow artists—such as Jasper Johns, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham—are often credited with creating a generational shift in art (1950s & '60s) following the dominant period of Abstract Expressionism. Richard Tuttle is part of generation of artists whose work is often referred to as ushering in a new sensibility called Post-Minimalism.

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Josef Albers & The Bauhaus School
Artist Josef Albers's non-objective paintings of colors and shapes were an influential bridge between the innovations in abstract art in the early part of the 20th Century—the Bauhuas School—and American artists in the 1950s and '60s—such as Robert Rauschenberg—whom Albers taught at Black Mountain College.

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Abstract Expressionism
Abstract Expressionism is an American post–World War II art movement characterized by work of an emotional intensity and rejection of the cool, detached, anti-figurative aesthetic of the European abstract schools such as Futurism, the Bauhaus, and Synthetic Cubism. It is often credited as being the first American modern art movement, and transported the "center of the art world" to New York from Paris.

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Friedrich Nietzsche & Sublimation
Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher of the late 19th century who challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality. An influential voice in the development of psychology, Nietszche coined the term "sublimation" to refer to the process of transforming the libido into "socially useful" achievements, mainly art. Psychoanalysts often refer to sublimation as the only truly successful defense mechanism.

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Richard Tuttle on Reality & Illusion
See more Richard Tuttle videos on ArtBabble!

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Richard Tuttle discusses his philosophical relationship to art and life in his New Mexico studio.

Richard Tuttle commonly refers to his art as drawing rather than sculpture, emphasizing the diminutive scale and idea-based nature of his work. He subverts the conventions of modernist sculptural practice by creating small, eccentrically playful objects in decidedly humble materials. Influences on his work include calligraphy, architecture, and poetry.

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller and Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera & Sound: Bob Elfstrom and Ray Day. Editor: Jenny Chiurco. Artwork Courtesy: Richard Tuttle.

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00:00:12 In some sense, we think an artist is really like Plato might call, a true philosopher. We don’t stop with an illustration

00:00:23 but you can go to the limit of any in all disciplines that might be touched upon.

00:00:32 You know a whole lifetime for example doesn’t seem enough to use all those doors. Part of this artistic breakthrough,

00:00:42 which perhaps have some historical sensitivity to both in the making and the critiquing. There is all of life

00:00:52 and there has to be all life because if you don’t have all of life then how can you make anything that has some importance.

00:01:00 I also aboard anything that I personally feel reduces the scope of art and there is a division leftover from 20th century

00:01:13 where certain people might think that art something that is made outside of any personal expression like Joseph Albers or the Bell House people that it's really cooly detached.

00:01:25 And then there is the other kind where it is full of personal expression.

00:01:34 Personal expression is great but we couldn't get an art, which is just an expression of some twisted personal idiosyncrasy.

00:01:47 I find in order to get over those polarities between no personal expression and personal expression, the only possible personal expression is one of

00:01:57 some sort of sublimation where one is not reduced to some caricature or characterization.

00:02:12 Art is life it in fact has to be all of life.