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Picking Up Crumbs: Robert Irwin

17 Aug

13470600When it comes to conceptual art, I don’t want to hear the My-Five-Year-Old-Could-Do-That rant. Especially not when it comes to Robert Irwin, because unless your five-year-old is adept with power tools and structural engineering, she couldn’t. The Walker Art Center proves this point with the untitled Robert Irwin installation, informally titled Slant/Light/Volume, on view now in their Friedman Gallery. Slant/Light/Volume consumes the whole gallery with a theatrical scrim set at a radical angle, so simple it is almost irrational. You can read about it in a piece for AVTwin Cities here.

Simple gestures are often the most powerful and in this instance, go and let yourself soak it up. As Sol LeWitt, one of the founders of the conceptual art movement stated in his “35 Sentences on Conceptual Art“, “Irrational judgments lead to new experience.” When standing (or sitting or laying) in front of Slant/Light/Volume, don’t worry about understanding the piece, or Irwin’s intentions as the artist. What matters is your reaction, how you feel, respond and interact with the piece (and by extension, those viewers around you.) LeWitt went on to say “Successful art changes our understanding of the conventions by altering our perceptions.” By proffering a challenge to visual and aesthetic perceptions, Irwin offers that you are the one who completes Slant/Light/Volume.

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