Robert Irwin, Untitled, 1971.

synthetic scrim, wooden frame, double-stripped fluorescent lights, floodlights
96 x 564 (243.8 x 1432.6) dimensions of scrim may vary with installation
acquired from the artist, 1971 (gift of the artist 71.17). Courtesy the artist and museum.

photo by Glenn Holvorson


Robert Irwin, untitled, 1971 

“Throughout the 1970s, [Irwin] repeatedly worked with translucent scrim, a fabric routinely used in theatrical stage productions. Appearing opaque unless lit from behind, this material is often used to situate actions taking place in the foreground and background; to metaphorically frame the action in the past and present, or to distinguish realms of consciousness versus dream-states. In Irwin’s hands, scrim becomes a formally divisive yet supremely gentle and ethereal agent of transformation. This almost anti-sculptural material objectifies light and space, creating volume from both of these intangibles.”

Robert Irwin, All That Jazz, 2011 © 2012 Robert Irwin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York © 2011 Philipp Scholz Rittermann

Pace will present a fluorescent light installation by Robert Irwin at Art Unlimited, Basel’s pioneering exhibition platform for works that transcend the limits of a traditional booth. All That Jazz (2011) is a new experiment with the perceptual qualities of light, playing with rhythm, texture, densities, temperature, and chromatic relationships. One light tube reflects another, and the spaces between the light tubes allow two adjacent colors to refract, resulting in a vast range of hues. The presentation at Basel is book-ended by Pace’s two-part exhibition of Irwin’s work, the first part of which is on view in New York through June 23, and the second of which will be presented in the fall.  Please visit Pace at Art Basel, Hall 2.0, Booth B20, and Robert Irwin at Art Unlimited, Hall 1.0, Booth U22.

Ever consider the role light and architecture play in art?

In our May Artcast James TurrellOlafur Eliasson, and Robert Irwin discuss light and perception. THE SOMETHING, a Bay Area performance collective, concludes the SFMOMA podcast with an experimental sound piece inspired by the work of artist Dan Flavin.

Explore how these artists take us to the edge of our perception, and heighten an awareness that allows us to see ourselves seeing→ 


thru Sept 1:

Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light (1977)
 Robert Irwin

Whitney Museum, 945 Madison Ave., NYC (at 75th St.)
$20 (admission is pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 6–9 pm)
free admission for members and visitors ages 18 and under

a large-scale installation that uniquely engages the Whitney’s iconic Breuer building and the natural light that emanates from the large window in the fourth floor gallery space. Part of the Whitney’s collection, the work was made specifically for the Museum’s fourth floor. It has not been exhibited since its 1977 debut, a pivotal moment that would set the course for Irwin’s subsequent artistic practice.