Art: Working on the Rock Pile

In the past dozen years, American sculpture has become more and more ephemeral and mass-denying. It turned into a matter of open steel constructions, more air than metal; painted surfaces that repress one's sense of material; cool machine-made boxes, metal tiles or bricks laid flat on the floor, anodized glass cubes and characterless Formica skins. To the extent that sculpture can get away from its primordial conditions of weight, thickness, opacity and immobility, it did so in the '60s, and often with an annoyingly academic self-righteousness. Nevertheless, a few of the best...

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