new-york

Robert Irwin

PACE | 534 West 25th Street

I often thought of Robert Irwin as the Bobby Fisher of the art world—brilliant artist, at the peak of his professional career, gets a MacArthur grant and is last seen driving his Cadillac into the desert with a volume of Kant on the passenger seat. In fact, Irwin never quite disappeared: with only a handful of installations in the ’80s, however, and a complete exhibition hiatus in the last five years, we just saw too little of him. Maybe that was remedied by his recent installation of three sets of see-through scrim walls that divided the gallery into a series of separate rooms illuminated by subtle spectral variations of colored fluorescent light. Painted on the taut scrims and on the back wall of the gallery were large black “frames” that read as both painting and cinematic screen. Initially quite disorienting, the scrims themselves appeared to be tinted and solid; space became fluid,

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