Sculpture: The Most Constructive

Who invented constructivism? The question might once have seemed academic. But in the past decade as art has trended ever more sharply in the direction of hard-edged abstract geometry — in color-field and op painting, in kinetic and minimal sculpture, constructivism has been increasingly recognized as a wellspring of ideas that many of to day's artists find congenial and espouse as their own.

Constructivism began in Russia as a spidery brand of pure and formal abstraction. Some proclaim Naum Gabo as its founder; some argue that his brother, Antoine Pevsner, has an equal claim; and some urge the case...