Light Pink Octagon
144.2 cm x 134.7 cm (56 3/4 in. x 53 1/16 in.)
(Rahway, New Jersey, 1941 - )
North America, American
Medium and Support:
Canvas dyed with Tintex
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Mari and James A. Michener, 1991
Richard Tuttle’s Light Pink Octagon challenges notions of what a work of art can be. A hybrid object—neither painting nor sculpture nor drawing, but containing aspects of all three—the modest, seemingly offhand work is from a pivotal early series that established Tuttle’s interest in how objects define the spaces around them.
Light Pink Octagon commands attention, embodying the artist’s unique sense of possibility and play. Made from a piece of cloth cut into an octagonal shape, hemmed on all sides, and dyed pale pink, it can be hung at any height on the wall and from any side or angle, or placed unceremoniously on the floor. Permanently wrinkled during the dyeing process, it looks more like a castoff than a work of art.
Indeed, its humble appearance and presentation deny the status most works of art seek to claim. Tuttle’s means of making art is a way of asking questions. His unexpected and poetic use of materials embraces the value of looking without prior judgment—of observing with an open mind.
In 2008, The Blanton’s holdings of Tuttle’s work increased significantly with a gift from legendary art collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, in concert with the National Gallery of Art, of 34 works on paper made by the artist between 1970 and 1982. These compelling works—some quite small—expand on the artist’s ongoing interests in line, color, and space.