David Zwirner Gallery
537 West 20th Street, New York
Entry limited to 6 people at a time
Reservations to view the exhibition are available, 212-517-8677
Through April 5, 2014
When you enter the immersive Doug Wheeler installation at David Zwirner Gallery, it’s like daybreak. A domed space with a flat apex meets the horizon with a hidden line of LEDs that shed light in a gradual, two-minute cycle in what the artist calls a “rotational horizon work.” The effect is like looking into a clear blue sky, that on closer inspection has subtle gradations that change as the earth revolves. The floor is the same color and is coped so you are slightly off balance as you advance and retreat towards this unreachable horizon.
The acoustical possibilities are as tantalizing as the visual. If you stand at the epicenter, the acoustics are as soaring as a cathedral. We clapped hands, rubbed fabric, and using an iPhone, played music and noodled on an app synthesizer. Placing the phone on the floor or waving the device around made for a delightful experiment.
One of the pioneers of the “Light and Space” movement in Southern California in the 1960s and 70s along with James Turrell and Robert Irwin, Wheeler originally devised this piece for Leo Castelli’s gallery in 1971 but it was never built. The title deconstructs the work’s history: LC 71 NY DZ 13 DW, or Leo Castelli 1971 New York David Zwirner 2013 Doug Wheeler.