About the Exhibition
Counter III by Richard Artschwager (b.1928, Washington, D.C.) is composed entirely of Deer Isle granite, a light pinkish-gray granite found only on Deer Isle in Maine. The central, vertical element of the sculpture is a simple rectangular piece of stone measuring 12’ x 5’9” x 20”. A square opening—forming a “window” and “counter”—is cut through the center of the monolith. The counter-window may be approached from the front and back via steps that extend from either side of the monolith. The steps measure a total of 13’2” x 5’9” in area. The granite has been flame-treated to give the surface a rough texture, except on the inside of the counter-window area, which is polished to a smooth finish.
As with much of Artschwager’s work, Counter III encourages the viewer to participate, in this case both physically and with the imagination. The lack of detail denies specificity of time and place, and therefore invites a number of interpretations. The artist, offering a reading of his own, states, “The task of Counter III is to mediate between the individual and social modes of people. More specifically, it provides passage for visas, love letters, invoices, manifestos, monthly remittances—as well as extortionate demands and payments—at the same time shielding the individual and society, each from the ravages of the other.”