Robert Morris on Silence

As my hearing continues to deteriorate I look forward to complete deafness with calm anticipation and no regrets.  The diminution of the aural has taught me that much of what is said to one does not need to be heard.  In the early stages of my disability, I often said “what?”  Finally, my wife insisted that I get a hearing aid.  But now that I have the device I almost never wear it, and when I do attempt to do so I invariably lose the tiny batteries that make it operate.  I have come to realize that most of what is said to one has nothing to do with communication.

I do not want to travel to distant places to give talks about art I made half a century ago.  Minimalism does not need to hear from me.  I do not want to travel to distant places to give talks about art I made yesterday.  Contemporary art is making enough noise without me.  I do not want to be filmed in my studio pretending to be working.  I do not want to participate in staged conversations about art—either mine or others past or present–which are labored and disguised performances.  I do not want to be interviewed by curators, critics, art directors, theorists, aestheticians, aesthetes, professors, collectors, gallerists, culture mavens, journalists or art historians about my influences, favorite artists, despised artists, past artists, current artists, future artists. 

The people to whom I owe so much either knew it or never will because it is too late now.  I do not want to document my turning points, high points, low points, good points, bad points, stopping points, lucky breaks, bad breaks, breaking points, dead ends, breakthroughs or breakdowns.  I do not want to talk about my methods, processes, near misses, flukes, mistakes, disappointments, setbacks, disasters, obsessions, lucky accidents, unlucky accidents, scars, insecurities, disabilities, phobias, fixations, or insomnias over posters I should never have made.   I do not want my portrait taken.  Everybody uses everybody else for their own purposes, and I am happy to be just material for somebody else so long as I can exercise my right to remain silent, immobile, possibly armed, and at a distance of several miles.

Read the full length here

Robert Morris (February 9, 1931 – November 28, 2018) was an American sculptor, conceptual artist and writer.

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