new-york

Dennis Oppenheim

John Gibson Gallery

In the past, occasionally, and now with his current show, Dennis Oppenheim has resorted to a circular ordering of events. The pattern, for example, of “annual rings, taken from the cross-section of a tree trunk, was blown up to about 150 feet in size, then shoveled and chopped out of ice on the U.S. Canadian border” (David Bourdon, Village Voice, January 20, 1975). More recently, Oppenheim obtained the corpse of a recently executed German Shepherd from the ASP-CA, and draped it over the keyboard of a portable electric organ which trailed, I think, a kind of dark grease as the artist dragged it around for a while in concentric circles. As the dog’s body stiffened in rigor mortis, the instrument slowly responded in deepening and more loudly mournful tone (The Clocktower, December 1974). From the description, I am not at all sure I would have liked to witness this cruel happening. But I did

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