The art of Kevin Blythe Sampson

THE ART OF
KEVIN BLYTHE SAMPSON

2/10/11

Dennis Oppenheim Dies at 72 - News detail - Flash Art

New York
Dennis Oppenheim Dies at 72

Pioneering New York artist Dennis Oppenheim has died. The American sculptor who defined the role of multi-media artist passed away on Friday January, 22 at his home in Sloane–Kettering, New York.

He was born in Electric City, Washington in 1938. He received a bachelor’s degree from the California College of the Arts, Oakland and a masters degree in fine art from Stanford University. He moved to New York in 1966, where he remained until his death.

He is best known work began with conceptual art in the 1960s, which included the first land art works. By 1968 he was exhibiting at the Whitney Museum. His first retrospective of the early work came ten years later in Canada.

Despite being tagged a conceptual artist, heterogeneity defined his art career in the years that followed the New York-SoHo halcyon days of the late-60s and early-70s. His output spanned nearly five decades and included performance and body art, as well as pioneering video art, photography and, above all, sculpture.

About his early groundbreaking work outside the white cube, Oppenheim refused to characterize it in antagonistic terms or as a provocation to institutions, which some critics and artists ascribed to conceptual art at the time. In a 1970 interview with Willoughby Sharp of Avalanche magazine he denied that land sculpture merely opposed outdoor sites to indoor spaces. "I think that the outdoor/indoor relationship in my work is more subtle. I don't really carry a gallery disturbance concept around with me; I leave that behind in the gallery."

Experiments in the 1970s led to more traditional shapes and architecturally-inspired sculpture projects. In the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s Oppenheim made numerous large-scale public artworks around the world, in Europe, Asia and across the United States.

Oppenheim was 72 years old.

Dennis Oppenheim Dies at 72 - News detail - Flash Art