Dennis Oppenheim and Marjorie Keller

University Of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center

In his newest piece, I Shot the Sheriff, Dennis Oppenheim manipulates a limited number of components—a spotlight, a shotgun, a large, transparent piece of plastic cut into a star-shaped sheriff’s badge, the gallery itself and a continuously played background tape of the refrain from the pop song “I Shot the Sheriff.” As in so many of Oppenheim’s most successful works, he uses combinations of familiar and novel elements, common objects in unusual contexts, juxtapositions frivolous yet complexly metaphoric. Oppenheim focuses on several issues, some of which have concerned him before, by relating, distorting and emphasizing his chosen parts.

A tight, linear triangulation is created between the spotlight, gun and star. The light sits on the floor in a rear corner, shining diagonally across the gallery space and illuminating the star which revolves slowly while suspended in air. The light shines

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