In April 1998 Dia Center for the Arts will present a new site-specific installation by the renowned Californian artist, Robert Irwin. Commissioned specifically for Dia's large warehouse facility at 548 West 22nd Street, New York City, this exhibition will be held in two parts. "Part I: Times 18 Cubed" will take place from April 12th to December 1998; and "Part II: Homage to the Square Cubed," from January through June 1999. This will be Irwin's first installation to be realized since the opening in December 1997 of his celebrated garden for the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
Best known for works which focus on the play of natural light, Irwin has chosen to situate his installation at Dia in its third-floor, light filled gallery. Taking as his point of departure the extended durations that characterize Dia's exhibition program, Irwin has devised his monumental project to capitalize on the changing light conditions that will mark that vast expanse of time, some fifteen months in this instance.
The whole floor of the gallery will be divided by fine mesh scrims into eighteen chambers. The first segment of the exhibition will be lit by natural light, by the daylight which enters through both the north and the south windows. The second part will introduce artificial color, in the form of electric light. By means of the subtle bleeding of one hue with another through the chambers, Irwin posits a reference to the pioneering American abstractionist, Josef Albers. This second part will consequently be dedicated to his predecessor's most famous series of paintings, Homage to the Square.
Given the interplay between changing natural light and the finely calibrated coloration of the components in this singular installation, comparison may also be drawn to the approach Irwin took when conceiving his garden for the Getty Center. A large-scale project that responds to the unique spatial, topographical, and climactic conditions of the site, this public commission closely complements the gallery-based installation planned for Dia Center for the Arts. For in his art, Irwin constantly strives to make the viewer conscious of the perceptual process itself, and of the ways in which place, space, and duration impinge upon and condition that act.
Support for this project has been provided by the Lannan Foundation, the Richard Florsheim Art Fund, and the Dia Art Council, the major annual support group of Dia Center for the Arts.
Dia Center for the Arts is a tax-exempt charitable organization. Established in 1974, the organization has become one of the largest in the United States dedicated to contemporary art and contemporary culture. In fulfilling this commitment, Dia sustains diverse programming in poetry, visual arts, education, and critical discourse and debate.
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