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Pace Gallery

Unlights

  • Robert Irwin

Press for Unlights

Current Exhibitions at Pace Gallery


The Patch of Blue the Prisoner Calls the Sky

  • Julian Schnabel,
  • Opens: Mar. 06, 2020
  • Closes: Apr. 18, 2020
  • Reception: Mar. 05, 2020
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Ego

  • DRIFT,
  • Opens: Mar. 03, 2020
  • Closes: Mar. 14, 2020
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Flares

  • Kenneth Noland,
  • Opens: Mar. 05, 2020
  • Closes: Apr. 25, 2020
  • Reception: Mar. 05, 2020
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

New Paintings

  • Nigel Cooke,
  • Opens: Jan. 31, 2020
  • Closes: Feb. 29, 2020
  • Reception: Jan. 30, 2020
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Me, Myself and...

  • Lucas Samaras,
  • Opens: Jan. 17, 2020
  • Closes: Feb. 22, 2020
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Unlights

  • Robert Irwin
  • Opens: Jan. 17, 2020
  • Closes: Feb. 22, 2020
  • Reception: Jan. 16, 2020
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Recent Paintings

  • Mary Corse,
  • Opens: Nov. 08, 2019
  • Closes: Jan. 18, 2020
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

The Nevada Test Site

  • Emmet Gowin,
  • Opens: Oct. 25, 2019
  • Closes: Dec. 21, 2019
  • Reception: Oct. 24, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

basis, 70s Drawings

  • Richard Tuttle,
  • Opens: Oct. 25, 2019
  • Closes: Dec. 21, 2019
  • Reception: Oct. 24, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

One of My Ancestors

  • Li Songsong,
  • Opens: Oct. 25, 2019
  • Closes: Dec. 21, 2019
  • Reception: Oct. 24, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Paste Papers

  • Yto Barrada,
  • Opens: Sep. 14, 2019
  • Closes: Dec. 20, 2019
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Plumb Line

  • Loie Hollowell,
  • Opens: Sep. 14, 2019
  • Closes: Oct. 19, 2019
  • Reception: Sep. 14, 2019
  • Hours: 10 - 6pm
  • Admission: free

Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere

  • Alexander Calder,
  • Opens: Sep. 14, 2019
  • Closes: Oct. 26, 2019
  • Reception: Sep. 14, 2019
  • Hours: 10 - 6pm
  • Admission: free

Works 1940–1992

  • Richard Pousette-Dart,
  • Opens: May. 10, 2019
  • Closes: Jun. 28, 2019
  • Reception: May. 10, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Source, Tau, Throwback

  • Tony Smith,
  • Opens: Apr. 26, 2019
  • Closes: Jul. 26, 2019
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Curious

  • Richard Learoyd,
  • Opens: Apr. 03, 2019
  • Closes: May. 04, 2019
  • Reception: Apr. 02, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Landscapes

  • Raqib Shaw,
  • Opens: Apr. 05, 2019
  • Closes: May. 18, 2019
  • Reception: Apr. 04, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

The World According to

  • Rita Ackermann,
  • Forrest Bess,
  • Katherine Bradford,
  • Alexander Calder,
  • Leidy Churchman,
  • Celeste Dupuy-Spencer,
  • David Hockney,
  • Peter Hujar,
  • Alex Katz,
  • Koo Jeong,
  • Thomas Nozkowksi,
  • Arlene Shechet,
  • Alfred Stieglitz,
  • Opens: Feb. 13, 2019
  • Closes: Mar. 23, 2019
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Murmur

  • Kiki Smith,
  • Opens: Mar. 01, 2019
  • Closes: Mar. 30, 2019
  • Reception: Feb. 28, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Classic Paintings

  • Adolph Gottlieb,
  • Opens: Mar. 01, 2019
  • Closes: Apr. 13, 2019
  • Reception: Feb. 28, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Duo Color

  • Wang Guangle,
  • Opens: Jan. 11, 2019
  • Closes: Feb. 09, 2019
  • Reception: Jan. 10, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Painting

  • James Siena,
  • Opens: Jan. 11, 2019
  • Closes: Feb. 09, 2019
  • Reception: Jan. 10, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

61

  • Robert Whitman,
  • Opens: Oct. 26, 2018
  • Closes: Dec. 21, 2018
  • Reception: Oct. 25, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Navajo Blankets

  • Agnes Martin,
  • Opens: Nov. 14, 2018
  • Closes: Dec. 21, 2018
  • Reception: Nov. 14, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Mark Tobey

  • Mark Tobey,
  • Opens: Oct. 25, 2018
  • Closes: Jan. 12, 2019
  • Reception: Oct. 24, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America

  • JR,
  • Opens: Oct. 26, 2018
  • Closes: Nov. 03, 2018
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Paintings

  • Irving Penn,
  • Opens: Sep. 13, 2018
  • Closes: Oct. 13, 2018
  • Reception: Sep. 12, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Recent Works

  • Zhang Xiaogang,
  • Opens: Sep. 07, 2018
  • Closes: Oct. 20, 2018
  • Reception: Sep. 06, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Lee Ufan

  • Lee Ufan,
  • Opens: Sep. 14, 2018
  • Closes: Oct. 13, 2018
  • Reception: Sep. 13, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Afro Kismet

  • Fred Wilson,
  • Opens: Jul. 10, 2018
  • Closes: Aug. 17, 2018
  • Reception: Jul. 10, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Théâtres de mémoire

  • Jean Dubuffet,
  • Opens: May. 18, 2018
  • Closes: Jun. 29, 2018
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

New “SCULPTURE/CONFIGURATIONS” [EXTENDED]

  • Robert Irwin
  • Opens: May. 11, 2018
  • Closes: Aug. 17, 2018
  • Reception: May. 10, 2018
  • Hours: 4 - 7pm
  • Admission: free

Evolution [EXTENDED]

  • Michal Rovner,
  • Opens: May. 04, 2018
  • Closes: Aug. 17, 2018
  • Reception: May. 03, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Something New in Painting (and Photography) [and even Printing]

  • David Hockney,
  • Opens: Apr. 05, 2018
  • Closes: May. 12, 2018
  • Reception: Apr. 05, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself

  • Yto Barrada,
  • Opens: Apr. 05, 2018
  • Closes: May. 05, 2018
  • Reception: Apr. 05, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

A Matter of Form

  • Barbara Hepworth,
  • Opens: Mar. 09, 2018
  • Closes: Apr. 21, 2018
  • Reception: Mar. 08, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Drawings

  • Robert Ryman,
  • Opens: Feb. 23, 2018
  • Closes: Mar. 24, 2018
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Principia Mathematica

  • Dan Flavin,
  • Alfred Jensen,
  • Donald Judd,
  • Sherrie Levine,
  • Sol LeWitt,
  • Robert Mangold,
  • James Siena,
  • Keith Tyson,
  • Leo Villareal,
  • Opens: Feb. 08, 2018
  • Closes: Mar. 17, 2018
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Thomas Nozkowski

  • Thomas Nozkowski,
  • Opens: Jan. 19, 2018
  • Closes: Feb. 15, 2018
  • Reception: Jan. 19, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Black & White

  • Louise Nevelson,
  • Opens: Feb. 01, 2018
  • Closes: Mar. 03, 2018
  • Reception: Feb. 01, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Nothing Personal

  • Richard Avedon,
  • Opens: Nov. 17, 2017
  • Closes: Jan. 13, 2018
  • Reception: Nov. 16, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Crossing Lines

  • Agnes Martin,
  • Richard Tuttle,
  • Opens: Nov. 02, 2017
  • Closes: Jan. 13, 2018
  • Reception: Nov. 02, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Painting in the '80s

  • Elizabeth Murray,
  • Opens: Nov. 02, 2017
  • Closes: Jan. 13, 2018
  • Reception: Nov. 02, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Shelf Life

  • Claes Oldenburg,
  • Coosje van Bruggen,
  • Opens: Oct. 13, 2017
  • Closes: Nov. 11, 2017
  • Reception: Oct. 12, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Ebb and Flow

  • Maya Lin,
  • Opens: Sep. 08, 2017
  • Closes: Oct. 07, 2017
  • Reception: Sep. 07, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Ultra Subjective Space

  • teamLab,
  • Opens: Jul. 17, 2014
  • Closes: Aug. 15, 2014
  • Reception: Jul. 16, 2014
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

The Arrival of Spring

  • David Hockney,
  • Opens: Sep. 05, 2014
  • Closes: Nov. 01, 2014
  • Reception: Sep. 04, 2014
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

The Watercolors 1941–1947

  • Mark Rothko,
  • Opens: May. 02, 2014
  • Closes: Jun. 21, 2014
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Tara Donovan

  • Tara Donovan,
  • Opens: May. 10, 2014
  • Closes: Aug. 15, 2014
  • Reception: May. 10, 2014
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Still Life

  • Hiroshi Sugimoto,
  • Opens: May. 09, 2014
  • Closes: Jun. 28, 2014
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Works on Paper 2011 – 2013

  • Joel Shapiro,
  • Opens: May. 09, 2014
  • Closes: Jun. 28, 2014
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Does Yellow Run Forever

  • Paul Graham,
  • Opens: Sep. 05, 2014
  • Closes: Oct. 04, 2014
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Sculptures, Paintings, and Installations: 2004 - 2014

  • Fred Wilson,
  • Opens: Sep. 12, 2014
  • Closes: Oct. 18, 2014
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

100th Anniversary Exhibition

  • Saul Steinberg,
  • Opens: Sep. 11, 2014
  • Closes: Oct. 18, 2014
  • Reception: Sep. 10, 2014
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Richard Pousette-Dart

  • Richard Pousette-Dart,
  • Opens: Nov. 07, 2014
  • Closes: Feb. 14, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Drawing

  • James Siena,
  • Opens: Jan. 12, 2017
  • Closes: Feb. 11, 2017
  • Reception: Jan. 12, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Wang Guangle

  • Wang Guangle,
  • Opens: Oct. 10, 2014
  • Closes: Nov. 01, 2014
  • Reception: Oct. 09, 2014
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style

  • Pablo Picasso,
  • Opens: Oct. 31, 2014
  • Closes: Jan. 10, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style

  • Pablo Picasso,
  • Opens: Oct. 31, 2014
  • Closes: Jan. 10, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Antoni Tàpies: 1923 - 2012

  • Antoni Tàpies,
  • Opens: Feb. 12, 2015
  • Closes: Mar. 21, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Variations

  • Isamu Noguchi,
  • Opens: Feb. 20, 2015
  • Closes: Mar. 21, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Collage and Assemblage

  • Louise Nevelson,
  • Opens: Jan. 24, 2015
  • Closes: Feb. 28, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Mao Yan

  • Mao Yan,
  • Opens: Mar. 06, 2015
  • Closes: Apr. 04, 2015
  • Reception: Mar. 05, 2015
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Blackness in Abstraction

  • Group show,
  • Opens: Jun. 24, 2016
  • Closes: Aug. 19, 2016
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Lee Ufan

  • Lee Ufan,
  • Opens: May. 15, 2015
  • Closes: Aug. 21, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Eureka

  • Group show,
  • Opens: May. 02, 2015
  • Closes: Aug. 28, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Tara Donovan

  • Tara Donovan,
  • Opens: Feb. 17, 2017
  • Closes: Mar. 18, 2017
  • Reception: Feb. 16, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Cacophonous

  • Robert Irwin
  • Opens: Apr. 10, 2015
  • Closes: May. 09, 2015
  • Reception: Apr. 09, 2015
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Thomas Nozkowski

  • Thomas Nozkowski,
  • Opens: Mar. 27, 2015
  • Closes: Apr. 25, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

New Sculpture

  • James Siena,
  • Opens: Mar. 27, 2015
  • Closes: Apr. 25, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

The Centennial

  • Richard Pousette-Dart,
  • Opens: Sep. 06, 2016
  • Closes: Nov. 18, 2016
  • Reception: Sep. 14, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Tara Donovan

  • Tara Donovan,
  • Opens: May. 09, 2015
  • Closes: Jul. 08, 2015
  • Reception: May. 08, 2015
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Album 2

  • Lucas Samaras,
  • Opens: May. 02, 2015
  • Closes: Aug. 28, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Black Mimosa

  • Nigel Cooke,
  • Opens: Sep. 18, 2015
  • Closes: Oct. 24, 2015
  • Reception: Sep. 17, 2015
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Chuck Close: Recent Work

  • Chuck Close,
  • Opens: Sep. 11, 2015
  • Closes: Oct. 17, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

The Yosemite Suite

  • David Hockney,
  • Opens: Apr. 29, 2016
  • Closes: Jun. 18, 2016
  • Reception: Apr. 28, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Recent Paintings

  • Adrian Ghenie,
  • Opens: Jan. 19, 2017
  • Closes: Feb. 18, 2017
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Let There be Light

  • Zhang Huan,
  • Opens: Oct. 30, 2015
  • Closes: Dec. 05, 2015
  • Reception: Oct. 29, 2015
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

67-68-69

  • James Turrell,
  • Opens: May. 05, 2016
  • Closes: Jul. 29, 2016
  • Reception: May. 05, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Into the Cool

  • Kenneth Noland,
  • Opens: Jan. 26, 2017
  • Closes: Mar. 04, 2017
  • Reception: Jan. 25, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

New Paintings

  • Ilya & Emilia Kabakov,
  • Opens: Dec. 11, 2015
  • Closes: Jan. 23, 2016
  • Reception: Dec. 10, 2015
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Anagrams, Arcadian Retreats, Anagrams (A Pun)

  • Robert Rauschenberg,
  • Opens: Oct. 23, 2015
  • Closes: Jan. 16, 2016
  • Reception: Oct. 22, 2015
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

26

  • Richard Tuttle,
  • Opens: May. 06, 2016
  • Closes: Jun. 11, 2016
  • Reception: May. 05, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Personal Work

  • Irving Penn,
  • Opens: Jan. 29, 2016
  • Closes: Mar. 05, 2016
  • Reception: Jan. 28, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Works on Paper

  • Thomas Nozkowski,
  • Opens: Feb. 25, 2016
  • Closes: Mar. 26, 2016
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Double Pendulum

  • Qiu Xiaofei,
  • Opens: Mar. 11, 2016
  • Closes: Apr. 23, 2016
  • Reception: Mar. 10, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Dark Palette

  • Mark Rothko,
  • Opens: Nov. 04, 2016
  • Closes: Jan. 07, 2017
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

GLASS

  • Maya Lin,
  • Kiki Smith,
  • Fred Wilson,
  • Opens: Jun. 26, 2016
  • Closes: Aug. 19, 2016
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

On the Body

  • Random International,
  • Opens: Sep. 22, 2016
  • Closes: Oct. 22, 2016
  • Reception: Sep. 22, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

New Plate Paintings

  • Julian Schnabel,
  • Opens: Feb. 24, 2017
  • Closes: Mar. 25, 2017
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Ceramics

  • Lee Ufan,
  • Opens: Mar. 10, 2017
  • Closes: Apr. 08, 2017
  • Reception: Mar. 10, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Prabhavathi Meppayil

  • Prabhavathi Meppayil,
  • Opens: Oct. 28, 2016
  • Closes: Dec. 23, 2016
  • Reception: Oct. 27, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Calder / Miró: Constellations

  • Alexander Calder,
  • Opens: Apr. 20, 2017
  • Closes: Jun. 30, 2017
  • Reception: Apr. 19, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Ebo River and Early Works

  • Keith Sonnier,
  • Opens: Nov. 26, 2016
  • Closes: Jan. 21, 2017
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Thinker

  • Yoshitomo Nara,
  • Opens: Mar. 31, 2017
  • Closes: Apr. 29, 2017
  • Reception: Mar. 31, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

New Works

  • Kevin Francis Gray,
  • Opens: Mar. 30, 2017
  • Closes: Apr. 22, 2017
  • Reception: Mar. 30, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Leo Villareal

  • Leo Villareal,
  • Opens: May. 04, 2017
  • Closes: Aug. 11, 2017
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Paintings and Works on Paper 2013 - 2017

  • Robert Mangold,
  • Opens: May. 06, 2017
  • Closes: Jun. 17, 2017
  • Reception: May. 05, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Border Cantos

  • Richard Misrach,
  • Guillermo Galindo,
  • Opens: Jun. 28, 2017
  • Closes: Aug. 18, 2017
  • Reception: Jun. 28, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Stain Paintings 1964 – 1966

  • John Hoyland,
  • Opens: Sep. 15, 2017
  • Closes: Oct. 21, 2017
  • Reception: Sep. 15, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

New York City, No-Name, Re-Do, Seductions

  • Lucas Samaras,
  • Opens: Sep. 15, 2017
  • Closes: Oct. 21, 2017
  • Reception: Sep. 14, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

When

Jan 17 - Feb 22, 2020

  • Reception: Jan 16, 6 - 8pm

Where

Pace Gallery

  • 540 West 25th Street, New York NY 10001 Map
  • 212.421.3292

About

Robert Irwin’s work has continually reshaped the boundaries of what art can be. Unlights brings together eight new sculptural works that harken back to his innovative experiments of the 1960s while further expanding an influential, lifelong inquiry into the fundamental conditions of human perception: what Irwin has called the “seemingly infinitely textured field of our presence in the world.”

Irwin’s new works are composed from unlit six-foot fluorescent lights mounted to fixtures and installed in vertical rows directly on the wall. The glass tubes are covered in layers of opulently colored translucent gels and thin strips of electrical tape, allowing the reflective surfaces of unlit glass and anodized aluminum to interact with ambient illumination in the surrounding space and produce shifting patterns of shadow and chromatic tonality. Reflecting his recent turn toward the perceptual possibilities of unlit bulbs, Irwin’s new body of work expands the range of possibilities for how we experience sensations of rhythm, pulsation, expansion and intensity, while continuing the artist’s long-standing interest in registering the immediacy of our own presence in space.

Expanding from his breakthrough disc paintings of the late 1960s, Irwin’s new works effectively dissolve the perceived border between object and environment, focusing the viewer’s consciousness on the act of perception. Each light fixture in Irwin’s sculptures contains one or two unlit bulbs—or no bulb at all—while alternating gaps of “empty” wall are painted in subtle shades of gray, producing a sense of uncertainty about what is tactile and what is merely optical. As the shadowed, painted and reflected intervals of space reverberate in the viewer’s visual field, the wall itself enters the composition, destabilizing any sense of figure and ground. To encounter Irwin’s sculptures is thus to allow oneself to be caught in a ceaseless oscillation between flatness and volume, transparency and opacity, solidity and atmosphere.

In Irwin’s art, the object functions as a kind of score for orchestrating “the continual development and extension of humans’ potential to perceive the world.” Although unlit, the bulbs in these new sculptures are therefore never “off.” Their optically rich surfaces serve as energetic loci for heightening the sensory possibilities of the human body. In their chromatic complexity, the works convey an almost painterly quality, recalling Irwin’s origins as a second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter in the 1950s. Suggesting a rhythmic, minimal composition of repeated linear elements, the works also evoke his innovative line paintings of the early 1960s, which involve us physically and perceptually in an open-ended, immersive and transitory experience of seeing.

Widely recognized as a pivotal figure in contemporary art, Irwin is closely associated with the Light and Space movement that emerged in Los Angeles in the 1960s, and he has continued to live and work in Southern California for his entire career. He first used fluorescent lights as substrates for producing what he has called a “conditional art” in the 1970s, often in combination with architectural scrims and other spatial interventions. In the 1990s he introduced colored gels to the fluorescent tubes to alter the chromaticism of the light, and, over the past decade, began isolating the bulbs and fixtures as sculptural objects in their own right. In returning to the use of solely ambient light, Irwin’s new sculptures embody the culmination of seven decades of rigorous experimentation.

“Everything in the world is ultimately conditional,” Irwin has observed. “There is nothing that’s transcended or infinite or whatever you want to call it. Everything acts within a set of conditions.” Like all of Irwin’s works, his new sculptures respond differently to the conditions of each specific environment in which they are installed, attuning our senses to a given context and making possible an intuitive and incidental experience of seeing that resists rational or conceptual explanation. “It’s not about answers,” the artist once remarked, but rather about the act of questioning: “It’s the constant pursuit of the possibilities of what art is.”


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