Posts tagged with "Doug Wheeler":

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Gropius Bau exhibition promises a great deal but delivers small pleasures

The exhibition Immersive Spaces Since the 1960s (Welt Ohne Außen) at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau promises a great deal but delivers only a few small pleasures. The gallery suggests it will show “a wide range of art forms and disciplines that mark a transition from object to spatial situation.” But if you go to the Gropius Bau expecting to see a survey of immersive environments you will be disappointed. Curated by Thomas Oberender and Tino Sehgal, it does include two California light, surface, and space experiments by Larry Bell and Doug Wheeler, along with a precedent-setting installation by Lucio Fontana and Nanda Vega. These sparse servings set up the real reason for the show: to act as precedents for installations by Sehgal. Further, the show posits that immersive environments have usually operated within a format of an “almost opposed modality: the exhibition.” But there it is in the Martin without any attempt to move outside the museum. The venue excludes outdoor experiments like Dan Graham’s mirrored pavilions let alone a James Turrell in situ light room. Sadly, the Gropius Bau’s walled spaces do not allow for any casual flow or unknown engagement with a work. With super-efficient Gropius Bau guards placed in front of the installation rooms there is little chance to even walk unprepared into an installation. In fact, the sort of immersive light rooms featured in the show require a museum exhibition space with sealed off perimeter walls. This not to say that there are not small pleasures to be gained in this exhibit, like Isabel Lewis and Dambi Kim’s tasty and fragrant Tea Room “live work” scheduled through the run of the show. The opening presented only a few of the live performances or workshops that will take place at the Martin, and perhaps these small discreet ‘happenings’ will enliven the show, just don’t expect anything approaching a complete or scholarly examination of the topic. The exhibition at the Martin Gropius Bau runs through August 5.
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This otherworldly art installation brings sweet silence to New York City

In the city, it can be hard to find places of total quiet. A new exhibition at the Guggenheim, though, tries to tone down loud New York, at least for a couple of minutes.

Artist Doug Wheeler has created expansive works with luminous materials since the 1960s. His latest piece, PSAD Synthetic Desert III, creates the impression of infinite space as it plunges visitors into almost complete silence. With help from what are essentially large Magic Erasers, Wheeler transformed a regular museum gallery into an almost totally silent space meant to evoke the northern Arizona desert.

Wheeler first conceived of Synthetic Desert in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but this is the first time his installation has been realized. Tucked away on an upper floor of the Guggenheim, visitors pass through three sound-cushioned antechambers before entering the installation on a carpeted gangway.

Save for a recording of the desert, the luminous purple-gray space is so soundless you can hear a whole constellation of funny bodily noises that are typically unhearable in everyday life. While sound in a quiet room registers at 30 decibels, in Wheeler's semi-anechoic chamber, noise levels check in at about 10 to 15 decibels.

To achieve this super-quiet, the museum used 1,000 pieces of sound-absorbing melamine foam on one side of the room and on the floor. 600 grey foam wedges line the walls, and 400 pyramids of the same material fill space below the platform where visitors sit and take it all in. The Guggenheim worked closely with Arup sound designers Raj Patel and Joseph Digerness to realize the exhibition, and BASF, the company that created the foam, is an exhibition sponsor.

PSAD Synthetic Desert III  is on view through August 2 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. More information about reservations and walk-in tickets can be found on the museum's website.

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On View> Doug Wheeler’s Light Installation Shines at David Zwirner Gallery Through April 5

Doug Wheeler 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.