Courtesy Sonnabend Gallery | © SABAM Belgium 2011

Box with the Sound of Its Own Making (1961), a nine-inch walnut cube containing a three-hour tape recording of its actual construction, was the first work by Morris to be fully involved with process. The Box literally interposed a temporal record into the viewer’s experience, a kind of nonverbal version of Duchamp’s notes for the Large Glass. John Cage, who had been instrumental in introducing Morris to both the artist Jasper Johns and the influential art dealer Ileana Sonnabend, was the first person in New York whom Morris invited to see the piece.

When Cage came,’ Morris recalled, ‘I turned it on... and he wouldn’t listen to me. He sat and listened to it for three hours and that was really impressive to me. He just sat there.” Cage’s response was important to Morris, as he recognized the piece as a fully theatrical experience.

- Maurice Berger, Labyrinths: Robert Morris, Minimalism, and the 1960’s