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Untitled ( Deer )

Dennis Oppenheim

in Electric City

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"The artistic trajectory of Dennis Oppenheim has always been characterized by its incorrigible discontinuity, motivated then as today by an intensely adventurous curiosity. Following his earthworks (1967-69) and body-works came the installations (from 1972 onwards), using puppets as their main theme (the harrowing piece "Attempt to Raise Hell" at the Pompidou Center). Later on, at the end of the seventies, Oppenheim produced what he calls his "machine pieces" which, by denying the object its sculptural status, are presented as complex constructions, systems open to both an aleatory and an enigmatic mode of functioning. There is an interesting progression from the early machine pieces which seemed infused with a confidence in rationality and in the possibility of grasping the structure of the mind to the late works which were designed to literally blow up and which seem to celebrate the triumph of irrationality and chaos."

Through his works, his artistical realisations and his influence on contemporary art, Dennis Oppenheim is one of the major 20th century artists even if he cannot be categorized. So he can make the rare claim of being a key figure in not one, not two, but three major movements: Land Art, Body Art and Conceptual Art of which our exhibition shows a few unique selections.

Oppenheim uses quasi-scientific methods for the creation of art and making the work´s configuration or duration suject to climatic or other natural forces. For example the Annual Rings (1968), where he uses a shovel to create rings in the snow on the U.S./Canadian border. In the early 1970s he turned to Body Art and produced such seminal works as Reading Position for Second Degree Burn, where he sunbathed for five hours with an open book covering his bare chest (an exercise in painting the body).

Oppenheim registers in the conceptual descendants as Chris Burden, Robert Smithson, Bruce Nauman and Joseph Beuys. His sculptures, interventions in outside, his models and installations gave the opportunity of huge exhibitions dedicating Dennis Oppenheim as one of he major artists of his generation.

Dennis Oppenheim was born in Electric City, Washington in 1938. He attended the School of Arts and Crafts, Oakland (B.F.A., 1965) and the Stanford University, Palo Alto, (M.F.A., 1965). He lives and works in New York City

Art objects of this artist

Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Lightening Bold Man, 2001
Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Lightening Bold Man, 2001

Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Four Neon Chairs
Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Four Neon Chairs

Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Canceled Crop, 1969
Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Canceled Crop, 1969

Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Slide Dissolve Sequence for Ground Gel, 1972
Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Slide Dissolve Sequence for Ground Gel, 1972

Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Reading Positions for Second Degree Burn, 1970
Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Reading Positions for Second Degree Burn, 1970

Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Annual Rings, 1968
Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Annual Rings, 1968

Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Untitled ( Deer ), 1990
Oppenheim, Dennis ◊ Untitled ( Deer ), 1990


born in 1938 in Electric City, WA (US)
died in 2011 in New York City (US)


1969 Professor of Art an der University of Yale und der State University of New York

1965 Master-Abschluss an der California Stanford University

1958 - 65 Studium der Kunst am College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland

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Exhibitions (selection)

2009 Jarmuschek + Partner , Berlin. „Electric Kisses", Marta Herford , Herford. „Performance Films 1970-1974", Ar t Gallery of South Australia , Adelaide, SA.

2008 "D.O. Weeks Retrospective", Kunstraum Potsdam , Potsdam. „Drawings", Ball State University Museum of Art, Muncie , IN; „Safety Cones", Seattle Art Museum , Seattle. Edelman Arts , New York.

2007 Montrasio Arte , Milano, Italy. "Studies, Drawings and other works", Galerie Sandrine Mons , Nizza.

2006 Video Screening 2, Center for Contemporary Art , CCA Kitakyushu, Kitakyushu. Drawongs exhibition, New Moment Ideas Gallery , Belgrad. „Salutations to the Sky", Eaton Fine Art , West Palm Beach; „Tactics: Early Video Works 1970-1974", Slought Foundation , Philadelphia. Galerie Pièce Unique , Paris. „The Assembly Line", Neuberger Museum of Art , Purchase, NY.

2005 „Aerial Water Closets", Eaton Fine Art , West Palm Beach, FL; „Tactile Poetics", Chiesa di San Paolo , Modena. Master of Desaster", MAM Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art Salzburg, Salzburg. Galleria In Arco , Turin; „Master of Desaster", MAM Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art , Wien. Taller de investigación sobre fondos del MNCARS, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía MNCARS , Madrid.

2004 Alternative Current, ASU Art Museum - Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ; Galerie Michael Heufelder , München. „White Box ", New York, NY.

2003 „Aspen Projects", Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Fernsehgalerie Gerry Schum/videogalerie schum , Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf.

2002 Select Masterworks - Eaton Fine Art , West Palm Beach, FL

2001 „Land and Body Art from the 1960s and 70s", Irish Museum of Modern Art , Dublin. Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst , Aachen.

2000 Grand Arts , Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.. Piece Unique , Paris, France; Gallery of Ar t , University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, U.S.A.. ICAR Foundation , Paris, France. Ace Gallery , New York, U.S.A.. Joan Guaita , Palma, Spain.

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