David Sylvester wrote this preface to the catalogue of the Richard Long exhibition at the São Paolo Bienal: Richard Long asked that it be left out
A catalogue preface, whether rhapsodic, investigative, polemical or explicative, is also meant to be a piece of advocacy. This creates a problem over writing a preface about Richard Long. He has too many admirers. A quarter of a century has passed since he began to gain an international reputation at about the time he left art school, and this reputation has steadily grown upwards and outwards. Mounting stacks of books, catalogues and articles have ensured that his very particular, ascetic, ritualistic methods and their mystique have become common knowledge. His solitary walks through the deserts of the world have come to have a scriptural resonance. To start singing his praises now is like taking a food parcel to someone who is in the middle of eating his dinner at the Ritz, or his manna in the desert.
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