Returned to lender The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.

Box with the Sound of Its Own Making

Robert Morris American

Not on view

From inside an otherwise ordinary wooden box emerge the occasional sounds of hammering, sawing, and sanding. These sounds form part of a three-and-a-half-hour recording that Morris created while making the very box in front of us. The audio soundtrack reframes our experience of the work, suggesting an ongoing act of labor, which is interrupted only by the necessity to rest or retrieve more supplies. The work is a manifesto of sorts: insofar as it makes evident the means and methods of its own production, it heralded a paradigm shift in art, one in which process, duration, provisionality, and incompletion take pride of place.

Box with the Sound of Its Own Making, Robert Morris (American,  Kansas City, Missouri 1931–2018 Kingston, New York), Wood, internal speaker, 7” cassette of ¼” tape, 1999; artist provided Digital Audio Tapes (D.A.T), 2011; digital copy of D.A.T tapes.
TRT 3.5 hours

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.