PRINT January 2011


Enveloped in fields of glow and shadow, viewers of Robert Irwin’s signature sculptures and installations never know quite what they are seeing. And yet they are made acutely, surprisingly aware of their own perceptual faculties, their bodily tics and errors and their leaps of sense. It’s for this reason that Irwin’s practice is famously aligned with the Light and Space movement of the 1960s and ’70s. In the decades since, however, the artist has also focused on large-scale interventions into public sites, from the celebrated J. Paul Getty Museum garden to the master plan at Dia:Beacon. These endeavors braid the viscera of physical experience with the historical and cultural aspects of their location—demonstrating, ultimately, that Irwin’s Light and Space work and his landscape interventions are tightly related. Both are suffused with the historical specificity, the here and now, of

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