Art: The Man of Small Things

Richard Tuttle works with humble materials for delicate effects. And now he has a very big show

In 1975, when he was 34 years old and had been showing in galleries for about a decade, Richard Tuttle had a major exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. A big show at a New York City museum can be career making. Or it can play out the way his did. Tuttle was working with the humble materials he favors to this day--wire, string, bits of Styrofoam, matches, scraps of plywood and cardboard--which he lightly assembled into strange little delicacies. Some of the works in that show, like his "rope pieces"--three-inch lengths of clothesline, fluffed a bit at the edges...

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