Thomas Solomon Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of early works by New York artist DENNIS OPPENENHEIM. This is Oppenheim’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition opens on Saturday, March 20, 2010 with a reception from 6 to 8 PM at 427 Bernard Street.
Beginning in the late Sixties, Oppenheim created projects that embrace earth and body art, video and performance art. In a series of works produced between 1970 and 1974, Oppenheim used his own body as a site to challenge the self, exploring the boundaries of personal risk, transformation and communication. 1981 opened a new chapter, with machine pieces, complex constructions, which he used to create a metaphor for the artistic process. By the mid-Eighties his sculpture was based on the transformation of everyday objects. Since the mid-Nineties his work has become larger in scale and permanent, fusing sculpture and architecture.
This exhibition will present 50 Yard Dash, Stills From Gingerbread Man, Reading Position for Second Degree Burn and other seminal early works. The exhibition also will include continuous screenings of film and video works from 1970-1974, from the collection “Tooth and Nail.” Moving “out of the gallery and into the world”, as did many artists of his generation, in the Sixties and Seventies Oppenheim was pioneering what would soon become recognized fields of Body and Performance art, and using film and video in new and experimental ways to document actions, and his own body. What some perceived as a rejection of the preciousness of objects, Oppenheim played with simple materials and processes to draw our attention not to the medium, but back to the message. Lacking the drama of politically motivated works, or the historicity of aesthetics, Oppenheim reduced the world to his own body, and the space required to move about.
Dennis Oppenheim was born in 1938 in Electric City, Washington. He received his BFA from the School of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA (1965) and MFA from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (1965). He has exhibited his works internationally in galleries and museums including the Tate Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Galerie Pro Arte, Germany; and the Joseph Helman Gallery, New York. Recently recognized for Lifetime Achievement at the 2007 Vancouver Sculpture Biennale, Oppenheim has received international attention for a body of conceptual work that includes performance, sculpture and photographs, and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Dennis Oppenheim lives and works in New York.