Baudelaire’s provocatively titled article “Pourquoi la sculpture est ennuyeuse” (“Why Sculpture Is Boring,” 1846) has serious implications for sculpture. I state his objections in argument form; I present a response based on comments by fellow sculptor David Smith and explain why it is unsatisfactory; I propose and justify a paradigm shift, formulated with reasonable precision, that achieves a satisfactory resolution; and I note advantages of the new paradigm that are independent of the need to respond to Baudelaire.
The paper has several audiences in mind. The new paradigm is illustrated with my own work, so other artists can see its benefits in concrete terms they can apply to their own work. Philosophers will see familiar theories and methods leading to progress in art. Art critics will come away with improved tools for understanding, evaluating, and explaining the aesthetics of the third dimension, tools also useful to art teachers. The general public will find the basics of a tutorial for enhancing the appreciation of sculpture.