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Dennis Oppenheim: Public Action
by Robert Stearns

Dennis Oppenheim’s iconoclastic inventions and interventions of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s would seem to be unlikely platforms for launching bureaucracy-laden public art commissions. By shaping remote landscapes, marking his own body, and making quasi-objects that galleries and museums found a challenge to exhibit, Oppenheim undermined every convention of the art world, let alone those of the general public. However, a strong conceptual and spatial integrity is present throughout his wide-ranging visual lexicon, from the early earth art projects and mechanical figures of the ’60s and ’70s to the mammoth “Erector-Set” constructions of the ’80s and the genuinely public art that has occupied his attention for the past 20 years.


Reconstructed Dwelling, 2007.
Steel, shingles, acrylic, siding, landscape, and hardscape, 30 x 60 60 feet.

Work installed at Tyvola Station, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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