Ronald Bladen, Black Lightning (Garden), 1981. Painted Aluminum, 8 x 20 x 2 ft.

Ronald Bladen

New York

Loretta Howard Gallery

In recent years, Ronald Bladen has been cited as a “Romantic Minimalist,” along with Robert Grosvenor and Robert Smithson. As I recall, the term first appeared in Robert Pincus-Witten’s book Postminimalism (published in the late 1970s), where it distinguished what these artists did from the epistemologically pure Minimalism of such artists as Judd, Flavin, Morris, Andre, and LeWitt (who was the first to disown “minimal” in favor of “conceptual”). Bladen, though, has his own unique history among this group of artists, who all emerged in the 1960s in New York. While part of the movement, he was rarely cited as one of the clan. Bladen was never an insider, though he appeared in important early exhibitions such as “Primary Structures” (Jewish Museum, 1966), “American Sculpture of the Sixties” (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1967), and “Scale as Content” (Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1967–68). The list of important exhibitions goes on (both before and after his death in 1988), with significant exposure both in the U.S. and Europe. This show of large-scale works, including Wedge (1971) and Host of the Ellipse (1981), revealed Bladen’s originality and his willingness to go beyond the scope of hard-core Minimalism.…see the entire review in the print version of October’s Sculpture magazine.