Feline Theatricality

Tony Smith, Die 1962

Tony Smith, "Die," 1962

I stumbled on this YouTube video today, and immediately stopped to think about how much Michael Fried has given me. Sometimes a critic’s description of a phenomenon can be truly apt even if the values attributed to that same phenomenon are less than agreeable. Encountering  Tony Smith’s Die as a teenage college student was a key moment that led me to my lifelong obsession with performance. I’m delighted by the theatrical relation between a viewer and an object, the mental play of its potentially endless repetition, the movement necessitated to experience the work from all sides.


In an earlier post Jennifer Doyle discussed the difficulty of a work like Die; it can be hard to engage with unless you have some information about its context and place in the history of ideas about art. I do think this little video might help for imagining a particularly playful minimalist engagement…