Saturday, January 29, 2011

RIP Dennis Oppenheim

Sad news discovered this evening. Dennis Oppenheim died last Friday at the age of 72. From the New York Times:

"He first became known for works in which, like an environmentally inclined Marcel Duchamp, using engineers’ stakes and photographs, he simply designated parts of the urban landscape as artworks. Then, in step with artists like Robert Smithson, Walter De Maria and Lawrence Weiner, he began making temporary outdoor sculptures, soon to be known as land art or earthworks. “Landslide,” from 1968, for example, was an immense bank of loose dirt near Exit 52 of the Long Island Expressway in central Long Island that he punctuated with rows of steplike right angles made of painted wood. In other earthworks he cut abstract configurations in fields of wheat; traced the rings of a tree’s growth, much enlarged, in snow; and created a sprawling white square (one of Modernism’s basic motifs) with salt in downtown Manhattan."

I have been thinking about Oppenheim's Annual Rings seen recently in a previous post. While perusing his website I found One Hour Run also featuring snow. Like much of his earlier work, it is a duration piece. I've always been drawn to his ephemeral approach to earthworks and body art.

One Hour Run, 1968 (six mile continuous track)

Here are four of my favorite Oppenheim works of art:

Rocked Hand, 1970

Parallel Stress, 1970

Reading Position for Second Degree Burn, 1970

Annual Rings, 1968 (a better version)

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