NARRATOR: Barry Le Va’s title for this work, Continuous and Related Activities; Discontinued by the Act of Dropping, emphasizes how it was made, rather than what it is. In 1969, Le Va was included in an exhibition at the Whitney called Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials. Its curator, Marcia Tucker, looks back on Le Va’s focus on process.
MARCIATUCKER: He was asking questions like how can you make sculpture without making an object. And that’s a really interesting question because most people just didn’t question the fact that sculpture was an object. And in fact that’s still true.
When you have a final product, you know, an object, one tends to be able to analyze it. It’s static. But the experience of making the sculpture that is this process dictates the final form of it, then what the viewer does is kind of go back and recreate mentally- or recreate bodily, I should say, the experience of making. And I know that Le Va talked about that in the early years, about wanting a viewer to be a participant.
NARRATOR: The title of the Work doesn’t say specifically what “activities” Le Va engaged in to make this installation. But the materials are simple and familiar enough that the activities are easy to picture—breaking and scattering glass, and unfolding rolls of felt. The fact that the artist stopped in the middle of these activities suggests that they’re still in process, and invites us to imagine engaging in them ourselves.