e-Duke Books

Have I Reasons:

Work and Writings, 1993–2007

By Robert Morris
Edited by Nena Tsouti-Schillinger

Robert Morris, a leading figure in postwar American art, is best known as a pioneer of minimalist sculpture, process art, and earthworks. Yet Morris has resisted affiliation with any one movement or style. An extraordinarily versatile artist, he has produced dances, performance pieces, prints, paintings, drawings, and installations, working with materials including plywood, felt, dirt, aluminum, steel mesh, fiberglass, and encaustic. Throughout his career, Morris has written influential critical essays, commenting on his own work as well as that of other artists, and exploring through text many of the theoretical concerns addressed in his artwork—about perception, materiality, space, and the process of artmaking. Have I Reasons presents seventeen of Morris’s essays, six of which have never been published before. Written over the past fifteen years, the essays, along with the volume’s many illustrations, provide an invaluable record of the recent thought of a major American artist.

The writings are arranged chronologically, beginning with “Indiana Street,” a vivid autobiographical account of the artist’s early years in Kansas City, Missouri. Have I Reasons includes reflections on Morris’s own site-specific installations; transcripts of seminars he conducted in conjunction with exhibitions; and the textual element of The Birthday Boy, the two-screen video-and-sound piece he installed at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy, on the occasion of the five hundredth anniversary of Michelangelo’s David. Essays range from original interpretations of Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire paintings and Jasper Johns’ early work to engagements with one of Morris’s most significant interlocutors, the philosopher Donald Davidson. Have I Reasons conveys not only Morris’s enduring deep interest in philosophy and issues of resemblance and representation but also his more recent turn toward directly addressing contemporary social and political issues such as corporate excess and preemptive belligerence.

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