Richard Tuttle

In our culture there is a job for art, because we can't experience reality anywhere else.

In 2005, in Time magazine, Richard Lacayo called Richard Tuttle “the man of small things.” Lacayo was reviewing Tuttle’s retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which, he said, “sends you home with your senses briskly reconditioned.” Tuttle, he added, “has been increasingly recognized as a genuine, if highly idiosyncratic, American master.” The exhibition traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Des Moines Art Center, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Tuttle was born in 1941 in Rahway, New Jersey, and lives in New York City and New Mexico. He received a BA from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1963, and while in Hartford spent time in the Wadsworth Atheneum and became friendly with the curator of paintings there, Sam Wagstaff. Wagstaff, who organized what is considered the first exhibition of minimal art, introduced Tuttle to art ideas and also to many artists. In 1964 Tuttle moved to New York. He telephoned the painter Agnes Martin and asked if he could meet her. She not only introduced him to the director of the legendary Betty Parsons Gallery but also became an inspiration to him and a lifelong friend. Tuttle began working at the Betty Parsons Gallery as a gallery assistant in 1964. His first one-person exhibition was at the gallery in 1965. He showed there regularly until Parsons died in 1982.

In 1966 Tuttle spent a year in Paris through a grant that provided a studio and a stipend. In 1968 he had his first show in Europe, at the Galerie Schmela in Düsseldorf. That same year, at the Betty Parsons Gallery he showed shaped, dyed, unstretched canvases now considered key works of a movement variously called postminimal art, process art, or antiform. In 1969 his work was included in “When Attitudes Become Form” organized by the Kunsthalle in Bern. In 1972 Tuttle showed in the Projects Room at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and in 1975 the Whitney Museum of American Art gave him a ten-year survey. The exhibition traveled to the Otis Art Institute (now the Otis College of Art and Design) in Los Angeles. In 1979 the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam mounted a survey of his small collage works. He has had many other one-person shows and has been in many important group shows, including “Drawing Now,” organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1976. Tuttle has said that all his work is drawing centered.

Tuttle made his first prints, woodcuts, as part of an artist’s book in 1965. He has created prints and artist’s books continuously during his career, many of them published by Brooke Alexander Editions, New York. Crown Point Press has published eight etching projects with him since 1993. In 2014, Bowdoin College held the first-ever comprehensive examination of his prints, which featured a selection of more than 100 works dating back to the 1970s.

Richard Tuttle was elected to the National Academy in 2012, and in 2013 he was invited to become a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work is in many museum collections, including the National Gallery of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Tate Modern and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. He is represented by Pace Gallery in New York and Annemarie Verna Galerie in Zurich.

-Kathan Brown, Crown Point Press


  • Richard Tuttle at Crown Point Press (19 minutes)

    8 etching projects done in the Crown Point Press studio between 1998 and 2005

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