New York, NY – The presentation of Robert Irwin’s Excursus: Homage to the Square3 (1998–99) at Dia:Beacon will mark the return of the work to public view, approximately fifteen years after its premiere at Dia Center for the Arts in New York City. Beginning on June 1, 2015, audiences will be able to experience Irwin’s “site-conditioned” installation in the museum whose master plan he created. The new installation of Excursus: Homage to the Square3 was developed specifically for Dia:Beacon and will be accompanied by a symposium and a publication.
“Excursus: Homage to the Square3 is one of the most important displays of Irwin’s environmental installations that—through the manipulation of existing architecture—explore physical, sensory, and temporary states,” commented Jessica Morgan, Director, Dia Art Foundation. “It is a great privilege to install this work at Dia:Beacon and return it to public view, highlighting for audiences the unique interconnections between Irwin’s artistic and architectural practices.”
The work began as a site-specific installation titled Prologue: x183 that occupied an entire floor of Dia Center for the Arts, Dia’s former exhibition space in New York City, during the spring of 1998. The piece featured white fluorescent lights that were installed within eighteen cubic chambers and defined by floor-to-ceiling scrims; the windows were covered with custom-fabricated blue-and-gray theatrical gels, providing visitors with a maze-like environment of subtly changing shadows to explore. Months into the installation, Irwin took the opportunity to further incorporate color into the piece by wrapping each set of fluorescent lights in complex combinations of vividly colored gels. This new work was retitled Excursus: Homage to the Square3 and, as its subtitle suggests, the work exemplifies the influence of painting on his practice by invoking the geometric affinities and color relationships adapted from the renowned series by Josef Albers (1888–1976).
The new installation of Excursus: Homage to the Square3 at Dia:Beacon will represent a singular manifestation of Irwin as an artist. Moving from his interior gallery layouts and flow patterns to the architectural interventions evident throughout the building to the landscaped gardens and forecourt that he designed, audiences will have the opportunity to experience an environment in which Irwin has touched virtually every facet.
“Excursus: Homage to the Square3 invites audiences to explore the work of art. What is so unique is that there is no beginning, middle, or end. Audiences can enter the work from a variety of entry points,” said Yasmil Raymond, Curator, Dia Art Foundation. “It has been such an honor to work closely with Irwin, a pioneer of the L.A.-based Light and Space movement of the 1960s, to reconceive this project for Dia:Beacon and create a long-term plan that will allow Dia to share this work with future generations.”
Maintaining Dia’s philosophy of displaying single-artist presentations for extended periods of time, Excursus: Homage to the Square3 be on view at Dia:Beacon for two years.
If you are not a member of artforum.com you must register.