In the latest issue:

Real Men Go to Tehran

Adam Shatz

What Trump doesn’t know about Iran

Patrick Cockburn

Kaiser Karl V

Thomas Penn

The Hostile Environment

Catherine Hall

Social Mobilities

Adam Swift

Short Cuts: So much for England

Tariq Ali

What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud

Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade

C.J. Sansom

Malcolm Gaskill

At the British Museum: ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’

James Davidson

Poem: ‘The Lion Tree’

Jamie McKendrick

SurrogacyTM

Jenny Turner

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny

‘Trick Mirror’

Lauren Oyler

Diary: What really happened in Yancheng?

Long Ling

At Tate ModernAnne Wagner
Close

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website (www.lrb.co.uk — hereafter ‘LRB Website’). These terms and conditions apply to all users of the LRB Website ("you"), including individual subscribers to the print edition of the LRB who wish to take advantage of our free 'subscriber only' access to archived material ("individual users") and users who are authorised to access the LRB Website by subscribing institutions ("institutional users").

Each time you use the LRB Website you signify your acceptance of these terms and conditions. If you do not agree, or are not comfortable with any part of this document, your only remedy is not to use the LRB Website.


  1. By registering for access to the LRB Website and/or entering the LRB Website by whatever route of access, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions currently prevailing.
  2. The London Review of Books ("LRB") reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time and you should check for any alterations regularly. Continued usage of the LRB Website subsequent to a change in the terms and conditions constitutes acceptance of the current terms and conditions.
  3. The terms and conditions of any subscription agreements which educational and other institutions have entered into with the LRB apply in addition to these terms and conditions.
  4. You undertake to indemnify the LRB fully for all losses damages and costs incurred as a result of your breaching these terms and conditions.
  5. The information you supply on registration to the LRB Website shall be accurate and complete. You will notify the LRB promptly of any changes of relevant details by emailing the registrar. You will not assist a non-registered person to gain access to the LRB Website by supplying them with your password. In the event that the LRB considers that you have breached the requirements governing registration, that you are in breach of these terms and conditions or that your or your institution's subscription to the LRB lapses, your registration to the LRB Website will be terminated.
  6. Each individual subscriber to the LRB (whether a person or organisation) is entitled to the registration of one person to use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site. This user is an 'individual user'.
  7. The London Review of Books operates a ‘no questions asked’ cancellation policy in accordance with UK legislation. Please contact us to cancel your subscription and receive a full refund for the cost of all unposted issues.
  8. Use of the 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is strictly for the personal use of each individual user who may read the content on the screen, download, store or print single copies for their own personal private non-commercial use only, and is not to be made available to or used by any other person for any purpose.
  9. Each institution which subscribes to the LRB is entitled to grant access to persons to register on and use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site under the terms and conditions of its subscription agreement with the LRB. These users are 'institutional users'.
  10. Each institutional user of the LRB may access and search the LRB database and view its entire contents, and may also reproduce insubstantial extracts from individual articles or other works in the database to which their institution's subscription provides access, including in academic assignments and theses, online and/or in print. All quotations must be credited to the author and the LRB. Institutional users are not permitted to reproduce any entire article or other work, or to make any commercial use of any LRB material (including sale, licensing or publication) without the LRB's prior written permission. Institutions may notify institutional users of any additional or different conditions of use which they have agreed with the LRB.
  11. Users may use any one computer to access the LRB web site 'subscriber only' content at any time, so long as that connection does not allow any other computer, networked or otherwise connected, to access 'subscriber only' content.
  12. The LRB Website and its contents are protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. You acknowledge that all intellectual property rights including copyright in the LRB Website and its contents belong to or have been licensed to the LRB or are otherwise used by the LRB as permitted by applicable law.
  13. All intellectual property rights in articles, reviews and essays originally published in the print edition of the LRB and subsequently included on the LRB Website belong to or have been licensed to the LRB. This material is made available to you for use as set out in paragraph 8 (if you are an individual user) or paragraph 10 (if you are an institutional user) only. Save for such permitted use, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt such material in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department.
  14. All intellectual property rights in images on the LRB Website are owned by the LRB except where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited. Save for such material taken for permitted use set out above, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt LRB’s images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department. Where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, reproduce or translate such images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. The LRB will not undertake to supply contact details of any attributed or credited copyright holder.
  15. The LRB Website is provided on an 'as is' basis and the LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website will be accessible by any particular browser, operating system or device.
  16. The LRB makes no express or implied representation and gives no warranty of any kind in relation to any content available on the LRB Website including as to the accuracy or reliability of any information either in its articles, essays and reviews or in the letters printed in its letter page or material supplied by third parties. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) arising from the publication of any materials on the LRB Website or incurred as a consequence of using or relying on such materials.
  17. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) for any legal or other consequences (including infringement of third party rights) of any links made to the LRB Website.
  18. The LRB is not responsible for the content of any material you encounter after leaving the LRB Website site via a link in it or otherwise. The LRB gives no warranty as to the accuracy or reliability of any such material and to the fullest extent permitted by law excludes all liability that may arise in respect of or as a consequence of using or relying on such material.
  19. This site may be used only for lawful purposes and in a manner which does not infringe the rights of, or restrict the use and enjoyment of the site by, any third party. In the event of a chat room, message board, forum and/or news group being set up on the LRB Website, the LRB will not undertake to monitor any material supplied and will give no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability, originality or decency. By posting any material you agree that you are solely responsible for ensuring that it is accurate and not obscene, defamatory, plagiarised or in breach of copyright, confidentiality or any other right of any person, and you undertake to indemnify the LRB against all claims, losses, damages and costs incurred in consequence of your posting of such material. The LRB will reserve the right to remove any such material posted at any time and without notice or explanation. The LRB will reserve the right to disclose the provenance of such material, republish it in any form it deems fit or edit or censor it. The LRB will reserve the right to terminate the registration of any person it considers to abuse access to any chat room, message board, forum or news group provided by the LRB.
  20. Any e-mail services supplied via the LRB Website are subject to these terms and conditions.
  21. You will not knowingly transmit any virus, malware, trojan or other harmful matter to the LRB Website. The LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website is free from contaminating matter, viruses or other malicious software and to the fullest extent permitted by law disclaims all liability of any kind including liability for any damages, losses or costs resulting from damage to your computer or other property arising from access to the LRB Website, use of it or downloading material from it.
  22. The LRB does not warrant that the use of the LRB Website will be uninterrupted, and disclaims all liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred as a result of access to the LRB Website being interrupted, modified or discontinued.
  23. The LRB Website contains advertisements and promotional links to websites and other resources operated by third parties. While we would never knowingly link to a site which we believed to be trading in bad faith, the LRB makes no express or implied representations or warranties of any kind in respect of any third party websites or resources or their contents, and we take no responsibility for the content, privacy practices, goods or services offered by these websites and resources. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability for any damages or losses arising from access to such websites and resources. Any transaction effected with such a third party contacted via the LRB Website are subject to the terms and conditions imposed by the third party involved and the LRB accepts no responsibility or liability resulting from such transactions.
  24. The LRB disclaims liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred for unauthorised access or alterations of transmissions or data by third parties as consequence of visit to the LRB Website.
  25. While 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is currently provided free to subscribers to the print edition of the LRB, the LRB reserves the right to impose a charge for access to some or all areas of the LRB Website without notice.
  26. These terms and conditions are governed by and will be interpreted in accordance with English law and any disputes relating to these terms and conditions will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  27. The various provisions of these terms and conditions are severable and if any provision is held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction then such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the remaining provisions.
  28. If these terms and conditions are not accepted in full, use of the LRB Website must be terminated immediately.
Close

It’s easy​ to see why Richard Tuttle’s work has a tendency to rile people – in particular people who insist on believing that sculpture, even if it no longer needs to be solid and substantial, should at least cling to material existence. From early on Tuttle seemed set on refusing such notions; his work came across as impromptu and elusive, a mirage of fragments, shadows and traces, portable, and hardly built to last. The immediate effect was to make minimalism look monumental, despite the fact that anti-monumentality was precisely what the New York minimalists – sculptors like Robert Morris, Richard Serra and Donald Judd – so polemically espoused. As Morris put it, they were bent on making neither objects nor monuments. Their art sought an in-between condition, a size, shape and presence intelligible only in the way a work behaved: our perceptions of it would, they hoped, be contingent on the vicissitudes of time and space. Can we step in the same river twice? If a work is made from propped-up sheets of lead, what happens when sagging sets in? Or if a cube’s assertively minimal structure is covered in mirrors, are we able to agree it’s the same, day in, day out? And then, as if these questions had promptly lost their interest, these same artists turned to remaking the monument itself.

Richard Tuttle’s ‘I Don’t Know: The Weave of Textile Language’ in the Turbine Hall.

Richard Tuttle’s ‘I Don’t Know: The Weave of Textile Language’ in the Turbine Hall.

Tuttle is a few years younger than the members of this celebrated generation; before taking on Tate’s Turbine Hall for his current exhibition (until 14 December) he consistently refused to work big. His interests expanded more conceptually than physically, to explore the neither/nor hybrid – ‘neither painting nor sculpture’ – that the minimalists had posited and suddenly left behind. By 1967, aged 26, Tuttle was making ‘paintings’ that did away with stretchers, and gave up on acrylic and oil. Instead each piece owed its homemade colour to time spent soaking in a tub of Tintex, the stuff of tie-dyed T-shirts and worse. And each owed its skewed shape – like letters or numbers on acid – to Tuttle’s fascination with language as a term or function of both poetry and sculptural form.

Behind his improvised process was the idea that, once dry, his shaped and coloured canvases – neither paintings nor sculpture – could be tacked to the wall any which way, wrinkles and all. As the late Scott Burton put it in 1969, the result was paradoxically as humble as it was grandiose: works like these ‘have no back, no front, no up or down, they may be attached to the wall or spread out on the floor’. Such a version of sculpture, in other words, relies wholly on the room in which it is situated, not least because there it can enact its misbehaviours at will.

Four of these 1960s cloth pieces are currently on view in London, looking a bit faded and bedraggled, yet still somehow lighter than air. They are the earliest components of the current three-part presentation of the artist’s work: a sparingly selected retrospective in the Whitechapel’s newly restored galleries; a purpose-built installation in the Turbine Hall; and a gorgeous catalogue, which not only covers both exhibitions but also illustrates a generous sampling of the textiles to which Tuttle has increasingly devoted himself. The result is a triumph.

As for the critical future of the exhibitions, I’m afraid I don’t know. I’m not sure it’s possible to be entirely certain about an enterprise that itself so aggressively embraces doubt. To choose a single title for its three components is one thing, but when that title is I Don’t Know: The Weave of Textile Language, there’s a risk things will go wrong. Apparently the idea was that the enterprise would embrace Tuttle’s default answer to Tate’s (necessary) questions about how his installation would find shape. But why let loose such an apparent non sequitur, such a loose linkage of uncertainty and its opposite? A few staff members at the press view wore small black and white ‘I don’t know’ badges: it seemed to me they were managing a problem, with a disavowal that wasn’t quite tongue in cheek. The risk Tuttle runs in the Turbine Hall is that his doubting title will become the voice of the exhibition, not least because ‘I don’t know’ is so quickly followed by ‘I don’t care’ or ‘I don’t like.’ Doubt can turn sour, and does. Scepticism has its merits, grumpy dismissal does not.

I’m not saying I know the solution to this problem – ideally there would be as many answers as viewers caught up by the show. Presumably engagement begins when – and if – the objects suspended at the far end of the Turbine Hall give themselves over to sensation and memory, and thus to thought. In my experience this didn’t happen easily or immediately, but sooner or later my doubts began to ease. The process started when I saw (or felt) the glow of a red and orange – a quite yellowy orange – that wouldn’t look out of place among the spices in a Delhi market. The aura comes from coloured fabric woven to order by a mill in the industrial Indian city of Surat, fabric that also included a third colour, a saturated midnight blue which is only just glimpsed beneath the red. Their role is to cover (in the case of the red) or to fail to cover (the yellowy orange) an arrangement of hanging plywood-covered steel forms. Tuttle named these components the ‘question mark’ (this is the piece in the centre, the one almost entirely shrouded in red) and the ‘airfoils’ (symmetrically flanking the question mark, these are four rather Judd-like tripartite pieces), which the orange fabric quite dramatically fails to shroud. Instead the material is tacked into place so as to fall away in pleats and billows, as if the airfoils are gaining momentum with a view to bursting free.

Is this description enough to suggest that Tuttle’s construction resembles nothing so much as an aeroplane straining to take flight? Yet, if the airfoils conjure an effect of streamlined engineering, the question mark summons something else again. It isn’t a body so much as a sign for a body – red and shrouded, shirred and puckered, it’s as phallic a shape as they come.

I don’t know whether allusions of this kind were intended, though no one could doubt that (as so often in male mythologies) energy, as well as mystery, are present in force. Equally there is no question that these are a function of Tuttle’s resolutely abstract language. What a happy coincidence it is that his installation went on view while the Malevich exhibition was, for a few days anyway, still hanging upstairs. On the Russian’s canvases rectangles climb and bank on white backgrounds that declare their flatness while still standing in for the vastness of space. The Black Square was there, hanging like an icon (or a Tuttle) high in the corner of a gallery, as was Suprematist Composition: Airplane Flying; both were first shown in 1915. Like so many pictures in the Malevich exhibition, the latter makes use of his beloved primaries: red and blue, of course, and an orange-yellow that echoes the aura of Tuttle’s draped cloth.

Something in the unexpected dialogue between the two exhibitions rings true. The great shapes in the Turbine Hall hark back to abstraction’s first utopias. To Malevich’s ‘Forward, comrade aviators!’ and even to Tatlin’s doomed re-creations of Leonardo’s flying machines. Abstraction constantly dreams of an exit from gravity. Whether Tuttle’s veiled aeroliths manage to take off – whether weightlessness and monumentality can be made into aspects of each other – is for each Tate visitor to say.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.