Sunday, February 26, 2012

Doug Wheeler

Doug Wheeler's "Infinity Environment" at the David Zwirner gallery in New York City has been the talk of the town for the last couple weeks.  Wheeler was one of the so-called "light and space" artists who emerged in Los Angeles in the 1960s.  This group is often thought of as the west coast expression of minimal art that dominated the New York art world at the time.  This is the first time one of Wheeler's signature environments has been constructed in New York, reminding us of how important art can remain essentially regional--or, perhaps, how until relatively recently the New York art world has remained largely disinterested in West Coast developments of the 1960s.

We can't experience the infinity environment firsthand.  But reading others' accounts of their experience, what do you think?  How does this art operate?  What are the implications of such perceptual disorientation?  How is the body of the spectator engaged, and to what ends?  Does this description remind you of any experiences that you have had?  Be sure to follow Tyler Green's links to learn more.

1 comment:

  1. I have wondered for years why we spend so much time on the art of Europe and the East Coast when UNLV is situated so close to Los Angeles. Nevada is a part of a fascinating indigenous Southwestern culture, but we barely touch on it in art history classes. If we do not even attempt to study our own region no one else will. Is the New York art world’s interest in 1960s West Coast movements genuine or just an attempt to find something untapped in an oversaturated art market?

    Wheeler’s work sounds like the light cycles done at The Forum Shops. In an attempt to give us a natural transition between night and day, Caesar’s Palace makes us hyperaware of the fake sky. Wheeler’s work reminded me of Antony Gormley’s “Blind Light” (2007). Gormley filled a glass room with disorienting smoke and light creating an indoor cloud. Gormley’s motivations are different, but experimenting with people’s perceptions via light is similar.

    Short Gormley interview about “Blind Light” and his other work: