Robert Morris (artist)

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Robert Morris observatory in Flevoland (NL)
Sunrise at the observatory, spring 2005

Robert Morris (born February 9, 1931 in Kansas City , Missouri , † November 28, 2018 in Kingston , New York , United States ) was an American sculptor , conceptual artist and author .

Together with Donald Judd, Morris is considered to be one of the most important representatives of minimalism . He made important contributions to the development of performance , land art , process art and installation .


Entrance to the hospital in Pistoia , Italy (2005)

Morris studied from 1948 to 1950 at the "Kansas City Art Institute" and at the "University of Kansas City", 1950/51 at the "California School of Fine Arts" in San Francisco and from 1953 to 1955 at Reed College in Portland , Oregon . In 1961 he moved to New York City and received his Master of Arts in art history from Hunter College in 1963 .

Morris' works from 1955 to 1959 were initially strongly influenced by Abstract Expressionism , especially Jackson Pollock . A photograph of Hans Namuth showing Pollock at work gave him the idea that art is the recording of an artist's performance in the studio; this led to his interest in dance and choreography. This included E.g. a performance in which, based on the exploration of bodies in space, a vertical column falls on the stage after a few minutes. Morris used the same idea in his first minimalist sculptures, Two Columns (1961) and L Beams (1965). From 1963 to 1970 he composed and staged dance pieces and worked on film and theater projects.

Works (selection)

In 1963, Morris worked with thin lead plates, which he stamped, cut, inscribed and combined with paper, wood and metal parts such as locks and keys. Three of his lead paintings were donated to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City by Philip Johnson .

One of his most famous land art works is the “observatory” with a diameter of 91 meters. It is located in the Dutch province of Flevoland . Morris made it out of earth, wood, steel and granite. He stages the solstice in an archaic, double-ring layout that is modeled on a boldly reconstructed Stonehenge .

Exhibitions (selection)


  • Berger, Maurice: Labyrinths: Robert Morris, Minimalism, and the 1960s , New York City: Harper & Row, 1989.
  • Jean-Pierre Criqui (Ed.): Blind Time Drawings 1973–2000 , Steidl, Göttingen ISBN 3-86521-144-5 .
  • Dreher, Thomas: Robert Morris: Anamorphoses - death reflexes in distorting mirrors , in: Artists - Critical Lexicon of Contemporary Art, edition 19. Munich 1992.
  • Grenier, Catherine: Robert Morris , Paris, Éditions du Center Pompidou, Coll. Contemporains / Monographies, 1995, ISBN 2-85850-825-9 .
  • Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (Hrsg.): Insights. The 20th Century in the North Rhine-Westphalia Art Collection, Düsseldorf , Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern-Ruit 2000; ISBN 3-7757-0853-7 .
  • Leuschner, Eckhard: Rules and Rulers: Robert Morris, Canonical Measures and the Definition of Art in the 1960s , in: Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst 60, 2009, pp. 139–160.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Robert Morris, Founding Minimalist Sculptor With Manifold Passions, Dies at 87. In: November 29, 2018, accessed November 30, 2018 .