Richard Tuttle: Top 10 Artist of the 20th Century!

September 16th, 2005

So I recently bought the big, huge Richard Tuttle monograph off of Amazon. It’s filled with hundreds of amazing reproductions. It has some good catalogue essays, especially by Robert Storr, who, if you don’t appreciate his floppy-haired, preppy brilliance, I don’t know what to tell you. Plus, for type geeks only: the adventurous choice of Scala Sans.
So thumbing through the book I realized—Richard Tuttle is one of the top 10 artists of the 20th century. Yes, that’s right I’ve just moved him to the top of the list, better than Flavin, better than Judd; in fact the best of the Minimalist/Post-Minimalist generation.
So you might be thinking, “Isn’t it lame to be compiling ‘Top 10 Artists of the 20th Century’ lists?”
Yes it is. If fact, the whole enterprise is completely subjective and pointless and basically all comes down to taste. And it turns out that if you do compile this list (which I have done) you basically end up with a list of all the artists you’ve ever ripped off. So without any further ado:

The Top 10 Artists of the 20th Century (not in any order):
Paul Klee
Peit Mondrian
Richard Tuttle
Giorgio Morandi
Pablo Picasso
Jasper Johns
Joseph Cornell
Anne Truitt
Chris Ofili
Mark Rothko

honorable mentions:
Gerhard Richter
Henri Matisse
Bill Traylor
Kasmir Malevich
Blinky Palermo

7 Responses to “Richard Tuttle: Top 10 Artist of the 20th Century!”

  1. t. Says:

    hmmm. interesting.
    I’ve thought about it, and i have to do two lists…not really in order.
    1. Duchamp
    2. Picasso
    3. Pollock
    4. Mondrian
    5. Malevitch
    6. Picabia
    7. Bourgeois
    8. Newman
    9. Martin
    10. Matisse

    1. Warhol
    2. Richter
    3. Baldessari
    4. Ruscha
    5. Judd
    6. Bas Jan Ader
    7. Bengelis
    8. Smithson
    9. Mike Kelley
    10. Mary Heilmann

    honorables: L.Owens, Alfred Jenson, Paul mcCarthy, Chris Wool
    Paul Thek, George Herold, Michael Asher

  2. mitch Says:

    good list…
    I’m suprised Nauman isn’t on there.
    Bengelis…good choice, not only for her hard-core formalism, but for her hard-core dildo shot. Still, just for the breadth and variety of his work, Tuttle beats Bengelis in my mind. I don’t know Paul Thek or George Herold or Bas Jan Ader.
    I was going to include Laura Owens but then I thought she might be too 21st century. I was also going to include Rachel Harrison.
    I still might include Philip Guston for his wild shift in gears mid-career. Picabia might also win the shifting gears award.

  3. Dickie Says:

    Mondrian, Picasso, and Malevich are bona fide. I would include Matisse without question. And Newman, but that’s my own perversion–Palermo is a nice touch.

    I might include more photography–maybe Stieglitz (or Kertesz, or Man Ray) and Eggleston.

    Smithson is a very strong consideration. Why not Sol LeWitt or Chuck Close?

    Benglis is such an anthology maven–always included, always with the dildo. Personally, when forced to confront the ugly truth that my list is wretchedly male and white, I will gladly and honestly add Vija Celmins, a true master, and the late great Shirley Chisholm, ignoring the fact that she was primarily a politician (I like to think of her as a performance artist par excellence).

  4. CD Says:

    I warms my heart that you included Bill Traylor.

  5. kaveri Says:

    so anne truitt is more important than matisse? and what’s so great about joseph cornell, anyway? if you ‘re going to put him in, why not some surrealists.
    but i suppose if it weren’t idiosyncratic there’d be no point to making a list like this. my own list probably wouldn’t have picasso, just because i never think about him, even though it’s patently absurd not to include picasso in a list of top ten twentieth century artists.
    i’d definitely go with guston. and i like the rest of your picks.

  6. Mitch Says:

    more people:

  7. Mechal Sobel Says:

    It warms my heart too that Bill Traylor is on your list.

    You might be interested in my new book, PAINTING A HIDDEN LIFE: THE ART OF BILL TRAYLOR (LSU 2009).

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