On September 13, 1998 Dia Center for the Arts will present the second part of a site-specific installation by the renowned California artist, Robert Irwin. Excursus: Homage to the Square³ is the culmination of Irwin's installation, begun as Prologue: x 18³, and presented at Dia in the spring of 1998. The exhibition will continue through June 13, 1999. Commissioned specifically for the third floor of Dia's large warehouse facility at 548 West 22nd Street, New York City, this is Irwin's first installation to be realized since the opening in December 1997 of his celebrated garden for the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Dia is open to the public Thursday through Sunday 12 noon to 6 pm.
Best known for works which focus on the play of natural light, Irwin has taken as his point of departure the extended durations that characterize Dia's exhibition program. His monumental project will incorporate the changing light conditions over the vast expanse of time, some fifteen months in this instance, devoted to this exhibition.
The whole floor of the gallery has been divided by fine mesh scrims into eighteen chambers. While the first segment of the exhibition was lit primarily by natural light, this second part will introduce more varied color, by means of a wide range of gels modifying the fluorescent fixtures. Capitalizing on a subtle counterpointing of one hue with another throughout the chambers, Irwin will posit a reference to the pioneering American abstractionist, Josef Albers. This second part will consequently be dedicated to his predecessor's most famous series of paintings, Homage to the Square.
Given the interplay between changing natural light and the finely calibrated coloration of the components in this singular installation, comparison may also be drawn to the approach Irwin took when conceiving his garden for the Getty Center. A large-scale project that responds to the unique spatial, topographical, and climactic conditions of the site, this public commission complements the gallery-based installation at Dia Center for the Arts. In his art, Irwin constantly strives to make the viewer conscious of the perceptual process itself, and of the ways in which place, space, and duration impinge upon and condition that act.
Support for this project has been provided by the Lannan Foundation, Ellen and Max Palevsky, the Richard Florsheim Art Fund, and the Dia Art Council, the major annual support group of Dia Center for the Arts.
Dia Center for the Arts is a tax-exempt charitable organization. Established in 1974, the organization has become one of the largest in the United States dedicated to contemporary art and contemporary culture. In fulfilling this commitment, Dia sustains diverse programming in visual arts, poetry, arts education, and critical discourse and debate.
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