new-york

Brian O’Doherty, Structural Play: Vowel Grid, 1970, video, color, sound, 15 minutes 43 seconds.

Brian O’Doherty

P!/Simone Subal Gallery

Brian O’Doherty, Structural Play: Vowel Grid, 1970, video, color, sound, 15 minutes 43 seconds.

Artist, writer, editor, arts administrator, and more, Brian O’Doherty has been well known in the New York art world since coming to the city, in the late 1950s, from his native Ireland. His book Inside the White Cube, first published in 1976 as a series of essays in this magazine, is a foundational critical text, an analysis not so much of art as of its physical environment—the white-walled modern gallery—and of the sociological and ideological networks invisibly embedded there. This was a context designed to sanctify its content by itself receding from the eye, by going unseen, but O’Doherty saw it, and did so with radical clarity.

If O’Doherty is a little less known as an artist than as a writer—he is also, incidentally, an accomplished novelist—that may be in part because he exhibited for many years under a pseudonym, Patrick Ireland. Adopting the name in

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