By Chloe Miller ’14
The admissions building is currently home to an art display called “The Birth of Three Metals” by artist and alumnus Richard Tuttle ’63. Tuttle is a postminimalist artist who received his Bachelor’s degree in studio arts in 1963 at Trinity College. He is a celebrated artist and his work has been shown in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Whitney Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, and other internationally renowned locations. In 2005 an exhibit dedicated to his life’s work was featured at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Tuttle now divides his time living and working in New Mexico and New York.
Tuttle’s artistic style has influenced many important modern artists. He works in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, and large-scale installation art, such as “The Birth of Three Metals.” He focuses on the use of scale and line to create drama through a less is more approach to art. Postminimalism is an art movement that began in the 1970s, both chronologically and stylistically after minimalism. Works often include everyday objects and attempt to approach the “pure” aesthetic form. There are a broad range of artists and themes, but Tuttle is one of the pioneers of the movement. His work has evolved from uniquely shaped wood reliefs and shaped canvasses, to smaller wall-bound pieces that command attention through the integration of painting, sculpture, and metal work.
“The Birth of Three Metals” combines sculpture of copper, brass, and aluminum into one striking piece. The metal is hammered to give off a textured, diverse surface, and the three separate pieces are smoothly connected by the simple use of brackets. The three distinct shapes (triangle, circle, and semicircle) of each metal accentuate the use of line that is so distinctive of Tuttle’s work over the years. At first glance, the piece simulates a question mark, although the period has been placed into the middle of the semicircle, challenging the typical conventions of the form. The work is almost eight feet tall and four feet wide, and is mounted on the wall from its side, jutting out in a dramatic way. It hangs on the top floor of the well-lit staircase in the Admissions building, highlighted by the white background of the walls and the streaming sunlight through the windows. Such a striking piece really fits into the modern architecture of the Admissions building, which also features a metal globe sculpture on its exterior. The clean lines and crisp lighting accentuate Tuttle’s focus on the minimalist art form.
The piece is on display in the Admissions building, and is on loan from a private collection. All are encouraged to stop by and experience the drama of such an experimental piece of art.